Oakland, Calif., voters to decide on bond issue for kitchen upgrades

If approved, measure would allocate up to $475 million to improve foodservice

When voters in Oakland, Calif., head to the polls next month, they will be asked to appove a referendum that would allow the schol district to issue as much as $475 million in bonds in order to cover the cost of major renovations to school foodservice facilities. According to advocates, Measure J  would go a long way toward helping the district satisfy provisions of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations on what schools can offer students at breakfast and lunch.

Plans drawn up by the district would include the construction of a central kitchen in West Oakland, which would be the district's fourth, as well as for 14 community kitchens to be built.

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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.

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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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“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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