Going Green with School Gardening

tomato plantSchool gardens are continuing to grow in popularity due to their array of benefits to both education and school nutrition programs. With seemingly endless opportunities for garden-based educational lessons in any academic subject, and harvests being incorporated in school meals, school gardens are sprouting up in districts across the state.

Brendan Ryan, the school nutrition director at Framingham Public Schools, is a forerunner in school gardening. He first implemented the district’s admirable 50-yard garden 6 years ago. Each year in May the seeds are planted and the garden is run entirely by students from various clubs, the honors society, and some are even hired as student lead growers who take care of the crops throughout the summer. All food grown in the garden is used to supplement the school nutrition program and provides students with locally grown food.

Are you interested in school gardening? FSU is offering a 4-week online Growing Your School Garden course that starts July 11 and goes until August 5. Click here for registration information. You can also find many useful resources on the Go Green for Schools page in the JSI Resource Center. If gardening isn’t an option for your district, farm to cafeteria is a great way to get locally grown food into your school nutrition program.

Get a Jumpstart on Professional Development this Summer!

As part of the Final Rule for the Professional Standards for All School Nutrition Program Employees the required training hours for school nutrition employees will increase for the 2016-2017 school year, effective July 1, 2016.

Beginning school year 2016-2017, annual continuing education/training requirements are as follows:

  • All directors must get at least 12 hours
  • All managers must get at least 10 hours
  • All other staff who work an average of at least 20 hours/week must get at least 6 hours
  • Part-time staff who work <20 hours/week must get at least 4 hours

The John C. Stalker Institute offers many different options for continuing education and training for directors, managers and staff.

Chef Tracey Burg, RD presents at Healthy Cuisine for Kids

Chef Tracey Burg, RD presents at Healthy Cuisine for Kids

Healthy Cuisine for Kids
Healthy Cuisine for Kids is a two-day training for school nutrition staff. The training is hands-on and covers culinary and nutrition topics such as healthy cooking methods and nutrition principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Participants will work in teams to prepare, evaluate, and present healthy, student-friendly recipes. Healthy Cuisine for Kids will take place at Cambridge Public Schools on August 4th and 5th from 8:00am – 5:00pm. Register here by July 15th.

Nuts & Bolts of School Nutrition
Nuts & Bolts of School Nutrition, a yearlong series of face-to-face and online trainings, is designed for school nutrition directors in Massachusetts to strengthen their knowledge of school nutrition program requirements. Education specialists from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs will provide essential training on meal benefit issuance, resource management and food service operations. The series kicks off on August 2-4th with 3 days of training at Framingham State University from 8:00am – 3:30pm.

Management Institute
The Management Institute is a three-day institute for school nutrition managers covering leadership, financial management, personnel management, communication, marketing and nutrition. The Management Institute is taking place at the Devens Common Center in Devens, MA on August 16-18 from 8:00am – 4:00pm. Be sure to register by July 29th.

Take advantage of these August offerings to get a jumpstart on 2016-2017 professional development for you and your team! Visit JSI’s website for more information on these and other offerings.