Colorado school district hires Ann Cooper as Consultant

Upgrading menus first on to-do list.

BOULDER VALLEY, Colo.—Boulder Valley (Colo.) School District has hired Ann Cooper, director of nutrition services for the Berkeley (Calif.) Unified School District, to revamp its school meal program.

Cooper will manage the project through her consulting firm, Lunch Lessons LLC. “The first step is looking at the menus and the commodity food order,” Cooper said. She hopes to eliminate most processed foods and will develop a new menu for the 2009-2010 school year. In addition, Cooper hopes to upgrade the department’s infrastructure and kitchens.

Cooper and her staff will begin work Jan. 1, at which point Cooper will work half time in Berkeley and the other half in Boulder. She said a team of Berkeley’s managers and the executive chef will “step up to the plate” while she is gone.

“Boulder is really ready,” Cooper said about deciding to work with the district. “They need a lot of work and I think they deserve a lot of credit for knowing they needed to make these changes.” Cooper anticipates that it will take three years to revamp the program. Boulder Valley is funding the project with a $100,000 gift from a local couple. Whole Foods has also agreed to match the donation.

Lunch Lessons LLC, aims to teach children how to “seek, grow, prepare and eat nourishing, delicious and sustainably grown food.” Cooper and the firm have provided consulting for several school districts, but the work with Boulder is the first complete overhaul the firm has done since Cooper took over at Berkeley after revamping its program in late 2005.