Second Annual "The Best..."

Environment

Farm-to-table program I’ve seen
Hudson Farmers’ Market reached out to our school district to get the first indoors farmers’ market off the ground. We held the first market in October in the cafeteria commons at our high school. Connecting parents with the event allowed us to highlight what we do with farm to school. It also provided an opportunity to shop for home. It was a great message, a great connection, and supported local commerce and sustainability. All the good buzz words.
—Maureen Faron Pisanick, R.D., supervisor of nutrition services, Hudson City School District, Hudson, Ohio

Environmentally focused operation I’ve seen
Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Va., has one of the best local food programs I have ever seen. Their leadership’s commitment to allocating budget to regionally sourced food is incredible. WLU has changed its operation from the bottom up to include this food.
—Elena Dulys-Nusbaum, sustainability coordinator, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va.

The best use of composting I’ve seen
I have been most intrigued by the development of facilities that are able not only to create compost from organic waste but also to generate energy for other uses. The Barr-Tech facility in eastern Washington and the Stone Barns Center in Pocantico, N.Y., are two examples.
—Mary Gregoire, director of nutrition services, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

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.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

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.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

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
chartwells teaching kids

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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