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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We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
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This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

Industry News & Opinion
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