Composting is cool for Calif. kids

Students learning how to compost during lunch.

Sept 28—Inside the cafeteria at Lincoln Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., students fidgeted in line, waiting to flip the contents of their lunch trays into three separate bins. The first bin, labeled “recycling,” was for the milk cartons. Next was the trash bin where the sporks and plastic wrappers go. And last: the compost bin, for the day’s discard of grapes, carrots, barbecued chicken and buns.

At Lincoln and nearly 50 other Oakland schools, the custodians, nutrition staff and faculty have banded together to use lunchtime as an opportunity to teach students how to compost. Their collaborative efforts are part of the Oakland Unified School District’s Green Gloves Program, a custodian-initiated effort to reduce the amount of waste schools produce during lunch.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

FSD Resources