Because I’m writing this letter in the middle of August, it’s a bit tough to imagine the fall season—crunchy leaves, cooler air and the impending sense of dread over whether this will finally be the winter when I freeze to the sidewalk.
But autumn also brings some of my favorite foods: stews, soups, squashes and apples fresh from the tree. Meanwhile, at Greenville County Schools in South Carolina, K-12 diners are getting amped up about a plethora of DIY options, including a build-your-own chicken and waffles bar, says Director of Food and Nutrition Services Joe Urban. (Where was this option when I was in elementary school?!?) FSD spoke to Urban and a handful of other directors about their exciting changes and biggest challenges for the upcoming year.
These days, operators like Urban aren’t just thinking about food during the school year; it’s a 24/7/365 job. In the cover story for this special section, we chatted with FSDs about new avenues and venues for tackling hunger, a problem that never really goes away. They told us that rather than focusing solely on students, their approach now touches all children in the community, regardless of enrollment status. It’s a sentiment that especially resonates with me at such a divisive time in our country, and cuts to the core of the service portion of foodservice.
Read on—I hope you’ll be inspired, too.