Memphis FSD shares goal to rid schools of processed foods

Tony Geraci shares his thoughts on the state of child nutrition.

July 25—In the new documentary “Cafeteria Man,” Baltimore public schools food service manager Tony Geraci explains to a group of cafeteria workers that he spends most of his time “being a bureaucrat in an office.” But the film also shows Geraci working alongside students in a new 33-acre urban farm, accompanying a group of kids to testify before a congressional committee, and giving elementary pupils their first taste of a melon they helped plant and grow. “Cafeteria Man” documents changes in Baltimore schools during Geraci’s 2008-11 tenure, which began with building a central kitchen to replace pre-plated, processed meals with freshly prepared food made with locally grown ingredients.

In the 83,000-student urban school district, says Geraci, “this has never been done, but it makes sense.” Many elements of the Baltimore program — school gardens, student-designed meals, and nutrition education in classrooms — have become a model for other districts. Geraci now directs nutrition services for the public schools in Memphis, and was in Boston last week for the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association. “Cafeteria Man” will air on public television stations beginning in late summer.

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Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

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Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

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ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

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