School puts healthy twist on cafeteria food

Alabama charter school starts new program called Fresh Café under direction of local chef.

FLORENCE, Ala.—St. Joseph Catholic School is serving up organic gourmet meals at lunch, and the students love it.

Dominique, a 10 year old student at St. Joseph's says, "Its like the greatest lunch I've ever had."

Kelley Dewberry, the Principal at St. Joseph Catholic School, says last spring they saw a need to revamp the lunch menu.

"We were actually on the child nutrition program at the time and we had seen our numbers go down and there were a lot of regulations and limitations on what we could serve in the cafeteria," said Dewberry.

They decided to start a new program called "Fresh Cafe". The program is headed up by local Chef Alan Phillips, and he only uses local foods when preparing meals for students.

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For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

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Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

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When it comes to fostering engagement in sustainability efforts, you can step up and do the work, or wait for it to happen to you, says Keith Soster, director of sustainability and student engagement for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Here’s a look at Soster’s job description, and how the position has redefined the program.

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