FSD's 20 Most Influential

Inaugural list identifies those people having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice.

Dr. Janey Thornton
Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services,
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D.C.

It’s hard to imagine a more dynamic time in child nutrition than the past three years, which corresponds to the start of Janey Thornton’s tenure with the USDA. Appointed by President Obama to the agency in 2009, Thornton was challenged with the administration’s charge to make school meals healthier. Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack clearly thought Thornton had the goods to effect change. After more than 25 years as school nutrition director for Hardin County Schools in Kentucky and serving as SNA’s president in 2006-2007, Thornton had the hands-on experience to provide the federal agency with the voice of the everyday child nutrition director. Something other directors were excited about.  

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A nutritionist and chef from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council trained school staff on 15 new recipes with the goal of upgrading the school lunch menu.

The ongoing project has been successfully implemented in other Oregon school districts over the last eight years. The trainings focus on Oregon State University Extension Food Hero recipes that meet USDA nutrition standards and incorporate locally sourced...

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Carson City School District in Carson City, Nev., hosted its Breakfast with a Hero event this week, Carson Now reports.

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Photo by Dan Davis at Carson City School District

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Dining halls at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., are switching from traditional beef burgers to plant-based burgers this week, Central Michigan Life reports.

The plant-forward event is aimed at promoting healthy, sustainable eating on campus. Each evening, a different black bean burger will be offered at campus dining halls, including Greek-and Mexican-themed options and a Cool Sriracha burger.

School officials say they will see how popular the new burgers are with students and then decide if they should continue to offer more plant-based dishes....

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Spring Lake Grade School District in Manito, Ill., has planted an on-campus orchard to begin providing fresh fruit at lunch, The Journal Star reports.

Students and other members of the school community planted 20 apple, pear and peach trees this week. The district hopes to make its first harvest in about four years and wants to incorporate the produce into school meals. The trees were purchased using donations.

Spring Lake’s orchard is an extension of its school garden, which was planted last year and provides produce for the cafeteria.

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