Lebanon Valley College

Renovation brought cooking to the front of the house.

Snapshots, Lebanon Valley College

This student is enjoying the fruits of the vast salad bar, which features more than 40 selections.

“We offer about six different composed salads a day that are made fresh,” Allman says. “The salad bar is also where we try to showcase our local produce when available. The salad bar is also an area where we get creative and try to offer folks different things such as a different hummus each day.”

The salad bar also features three homemade soups per day. Another cool feature is that one side of the salad bar is completely gluten-free so students with special dietary needs can avoid cross contamination by sticking to that side of the station.

“We do a lot with gluten-free items,” Allman says. “We also are promoting the health benefits of eating a gluten-free diet. There are studies that show if you are feeling sluggish or getting migraines reducing the amount of gluten you eat might help with that.”

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On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

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We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

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We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
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Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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