News Roundup

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive real, wholesome food and freshly grown produce while making strides to end hunger in Massachusetts. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In September, our keynote speaker Chef Dan Giusti from this year’s 2019 Healthy Kids, Healthy Programs Summit was featured on The Today Show. In this video segment, Chef Dan discusses his work with Brigaid and his mission to bring professional chefs to the front-lines of school nutrition.

In September, Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, Massachusetts received a grant kickstarting a new farm-to-school program. In this grant, the school expects to build three greenhouses, two supply sheds, ten raised beds, and an outdoor classroom. This grant will help involve students in not only eating healthfully but growing the produce and the program themselves.

In September, Waltham Public Schools partnered with Project Bread to ramp up school menus. Project Bread, which is an organization committed to preventing and ending hunger in Massachusetts, is sending Chef Vanessa to schools across the district to implement new recipes and creations for students to try.

News Roundup

Photo: February 2019 SNA Publication

School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals and learn about new food topics, while also helping serve their community members. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

In November, an article detailed the partnership between Framingham State University and Sodexo with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. In this partnership, a trial was implemented on the FSU campus to assess the biological effects of different macronutrient diets.

In February, Waltham public schools were recognized for their reworked breakfast and lunch school programs. Some of the upgrades made to the district’s programs included bringing speakers in to do short presentations on food topics for children, incorporating herbs and plants into the curriculum, and partnering with Greater Boston Food Bank to help Waltham residents in need of food.

In February, Boston mayor Marty Walsh discussed My Way Café, which is a new program being implemented into many Boston schools to deliver fresh food to young children. The program allows students the opportunity to choose delicious and nutritious meals cafeteria-style in their schools.

In the February edition SNA magazine, Billerica Public Schools were highlighted for their Food Market – a coordinated program promoted by the BPS School Nutrition department. The Market is open to all residents of Billerica and features a selection of 15-20 different fresh and shelf-stable items and serves around 1,600 community members.

News Roundup

Broccoli, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes prepared for healthy school lunch.School Nutrition Programs across the Commonwealth are working diligently to ensure that students receive fresh meals, access to fruits and vegetables, a healthy breakfast to start their day, and lessons in eating locally – among many other things. Check out the recent news highlighting Massachusetts schools!

News Roundup

On April 29, National Honor Society students at Framingham High alongside Food Service Director Brendan Ryan, teachers and families prepared the Saxonville school garden. This is the eighth year of the garden and last year the harvest helped make 1,000 gallons of tomato sauce and 10 gallons of basil sauce to feed 9,000 students across the district.

Congratulations to Brockton Public School as a recipient of the 2017 Turnip the Beet Awards! USDA awards annual Turnip the Beet awards to honor schools doing incredible work to offer nutritious and appealing summer meals to children and in turn, help meet the needs of the local community. If you’re interested in nominating a school for the 2018 awards, information will be posted later this year.

At Edison K-8 in Brighton, MA some students receive weekly Boost Bags on Fridays. These kits include several food items so students experiencing food insecurity first-hand can have proper nourishment through the weekend. Teachers see first-hand how homelessness and hunger impact students in the classroom and see the positive impact this program has on their student body.

Third, fourth and fifth graders from Whitin Elementary School went on a field trip to Whittier Farms in Sutton, MA accompanied by a very special guest; professional football player Derek Rivers of the New England Patriots. This trip was awarded to students after winning the Fuel Up to Play 60 Back to School Challenge. Students learned how the milk they drink is produced to provide great nutritional value and about the everyday responsibilities of a dairy farmer.

News Roundup

  • Dover Sherborn made the news after hosting JSI’s first-ever Live Setting Training on April 5th. The school served a Mediterranean-themed “Make Your Own Pita Pocket” lunch alongside JSI’s Professional Chef Brendan Gallagher. This training incorporated the lessons, flavors and recipes from the “Back to Basics: Mediterranean Flavors Workshop to Go” and featured them live for students to enjoy in the lunchroom.
  • Dedham Schools just received a valuable grant to expand their school breakfast program. This grant, which was from Amazon for $7,500, was used to purchase a breakfast and milk cart to serve breakfast in schools that do not have a cafeteria. With this new equipment, breakfast can be delivered to students in the classroom so they aren’t hungry in the morning and can start their day on the right foot.
  • To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Medway Middle School hosted a “grain-sampling” event for students to discover different grains. The school nutrition team also created lunch dishes featuring these items so students can see how these grains can be incorporated in meals and try then in their lunches. All recipes were shared with the parents after the event.
  • On April 2nd, Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang joined the official launch of  The “My Way Café” program at Bradley Elementary school in East Boston. This program was piloted for the past year and it allows schools with in-service kitchens to prepare healthy meals for other Boston schools that do not have kitchens to increase school lunch offerings throughout the city.

News Roundup

  • Director of School Nutrition, April Laskey, SNS of Billerica Public Schools received national recognition as one of five 2018 School Nutrition Heroes by the School Nutrition Foundation. This well-deserved award was given to April for her 12 years of serving healthy school meals to Billerica students and her incredible support and hard-work in both her school district and community.
  • Mill City Grows’ (MCG) supports local farms and Lowell Families through the “Farm to Table Family Cooking Classes” by organizing workshops for 8-10 families to learn how to prepare fresh, seasonal, affordable meals together. MCG partners with Lowell Public School District’s Food and Nutrition Services and afterschool programs to host these workshops throughout the city.
  • Bellingham schools are launching a food pantry program to minimize hunger throughout the town. With grant assistance from the Hockomock Area YMCA, this program will provide students with weekly food items to increase students’ access to healthy food.
  • Jane Rice, the kitchen manager at Taylor Elementary School in Foxborough, MA was recognized as a  “Wholesome Hero” by Rainier Fruit for her incredible work managing the school’s tower gardens. With the limited New England growing season, these hydroponic vertical gardens provide fresh vegetables like cucumbers and lettuce for students year-round.

News Roundup

  • State Senator Joan Lovely, State Representative Paul Tucker and Representative

    Demonstration during the SNA of MA chapter meeting at Keefe Technical High School. 

    Thomas Walsh visited Carlton Innovation School in Salem, to learn more about their school breakfast program before they vote for a bill that would require high-poverty Massachusetts schools to serve breakfast after the start of the school day.

  • Keefe Technical High School hosted the SNA of MA Chapter Meeting in November. This meeting featured the newly updated JSI workshop Professional Communications presented by Lynnea Gleason.
  • Orleans Elementary School invited State Representative Sarah Peake to observe the school nutrition program and learn how they connect the classroom with education in the school lunch program.
  • Spotlight on Janice Rice, the Kitchen Manager at Taylor Elementary School and her work with aeroponic tower gardens to provide students access to fresh produce.

News Roundup

News Roundup

  • Food Service Director Janice Watt of Foxborough Public Schools, dietetics interns from Framingham State University and her school nutrition staff put together this video to provide an “inside look” into how their school nutrition team prepares “Real School Lunch” for students.

    Inside look at how Foxborough Public Schools prepare “Real School Lunch” for students.

  • Look through photos of the new vegetable garden at Dutile Elementary School in Billerica, MA. With the help of Boston Cares, the Billerica Garden Committee, school parents and students, this new garden includes sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins and squash for the school.
  • Now that we’ve hit the fall months, ensuring schoolchildren get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D is top of mind. Researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and colleagues conducted a study to understand how to bridge “The Vitamin D Gap” for children living in northern latitudes like New England.

If you have any new stories to share about your school nutrition program, don’t hesitate to e-mail us at johnstalker@framingham.edu. Your story may be featured in a future JSI News Roundup!

Recent MA SNP News Roundup: Keeping Up the Pace

JSI newspaper icon3The end of the school year may now be in sight, but school nutrition programs and professionals are going full steam ahead. Our recent review of the news shows that SNP staff are sharing best practices, promoting their programs, and connecting school food to the local suppliers and environment:

  • As part of an annual event held by the Massachusetts Action for Healthy Kids (MAHK), Billerica school nutrition professionals showed off their morning-meal skills by serving breakfast at the State House to roughly 100 state legislators, school lunch administrators, and students from Quincy, reports Wicked Local Billerica.
  • Former Somerville food service director, Mary Jo McClarney (now with USDA), highlighted her experience successfully introducing healthier foods to Somerville schools when she spoke in New York about recent and upcoming changes to school-nutrition standards. Read the recap from the Times Herald-Record.
  • Ezra Baker School in Dennis is forging ahead with great Farm-to-School initiatives: preparing to plant a Three Sisters garden (funded with the first Farm-to-School Initiative federal grant in Massachusetts); installing a salad bar featuring local produce; and hosting a locally-sourced meal event for families. Read the article from Cape Cod Online.
  • Eighth graders at the Heath School in Brookline – working with science teachers, administration, and school nutrition staff – developed a school cafeteria composting initiative, reports Wicked Local Brookline.

We know your school or district has been busy this year, and we’d love to hear about it in the comments, or submit your story to be featured among JSI Success Stories!