Heading to SNA's annual conference? Here are the must-attend sessions, according to FSD editors

AI, school-meal legislation, seasonal foods and more are among the educational highlights at the upcoming School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference in Boston.
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The big school nutrition show of the year is upon us once again, in Boston this time around, starting Saturday. The School Nutrition Association (SNA)’s Annual National Conference (ANC) is set to welcome more than 6,000 school nutrition professionals and 800-plus exhibit booths. (Fun fact: The first SNA conference was held in 1947 in Dallas, with an attendance of 478 people).

If you’re attending, there are many educational sessions to choose from. Here are a few worth checking out, in chronological order, as selected by the editors of FSD. For specific times and locations, visit SNA’s website.

AI in Action: How We Used Artificial Intelligence to Boost Our School Nutrition Program

Curious about AI? Unsure about what it could mean for your job in the future? We humans must figure this out together, and this session, led by Chef Andrew Terronez and Assistant Director Adrea Katzenmeier of Wichita Public Schools, will identify ways a K-12 operation can use AI for recipe development, employee recruitment, marketing and more.

Free Healthy School Meals for All: Trends and Implementation Insights

Bills are cropping up all across the country to make steps toward universal free school meals. Eight states have passed Healthy School Meals for All legislation and bills are pending in many others. This session, led by Shannon Solomon, director of school nutrition at Aurora Public Schools and Michelle Frey, branch chief of the USDA Food and Nutrition division, will delve into state campaigns to serve all students at no cost.

Opening General Session: Andrew Zimmern

Attendees will get to know this award-winning celebrity chef renowned not only for being on TV, but also for his strength in overcoming addiction and embracing sobriety. Zimmern works with many organizations such as No Kid Hungry, City Harvest, Services for the Underserved, The Nature Conservancy and Coalition for Sustainable Aquaculture.

Seafood is a Superfood—Why aren’t we Menuing it More?

It’s been known for a long time that seafood is healthy, even called “brain food” or a “superfood.” But trying to menu seafood—especially responsibly sourced, even local seafood—can be tricky in K-12. In this session, Sophie Scott of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Karyl Kent, director of school nutrition at Lamoille North schools, outline sea-to-schools and how it can increase participation along with boosting brains.

What’s in Season? Taking Summer Meals to the Farmer’s Market

Farm to school is an ideal image of food for kids but implementing it comes with different sets of challenges, depending on lots of factors. Presenter Casey Dickinson, assistant director of food and nutrition services at Chesterfield County Public Schools, shares how to create community relationships and really cultivate farm to school.



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