SF schools cook up a new approach to the cafeteria experience

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—A recipe for a whole new cafeteria experience is being served up in San Francisco public schools, consisting of a pinch of progress, a dash of technology and a sprinkle of student input.

Following a five-month collaboration last year with Bay Area-based design and consulting firm IDEO to rethink the San Francisco Unified School District's food system, officials this fall will launch pilot initiatives to revamp spaces and incorporate technology to transform the overall dining experience for students and faculty.

"We really are changing what it means to eat lunch within the schools," Angela McKee, project manager for SFUSD's future dining experience, said at a recent panel discussion of the topic.

The panel, held May 28 at the urban policy think tank SPUR, revealed the district's vision for a food experience drawing on the input of more than 1,300 students, parents, nutrition staff, principals, teachers and administrators.

"This is the first project where we've taken a truly student-centered approach" to the district's food system, said Zetta Reicker, interim director of Student Nutrition Services for the SFUSD.

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