A group of K-12 operators and nonprofits have come together to form ScratchWorks, a collective that aims to increase access to and support for scratch-made meals in schools.
The collective will create three different programs, each with the goal of providing resources and networking opportunities for operators to increase access to scratch-made meals in schools.
First, ScratchWorks will partner with an advocacy group to better understand and push for legislation at the federal, state and local levels to help school food programs that are preparing meals from whole, fresh ingredients. The collective will then host its first annual gathering sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.
Finally, ScratchWorks will set up a mentorship program that will match up a K12 operator experienced in scratch cooking with a peer who is looking to implement or improve scratch cooking at their own district.
ScratchWorks was founded by Ann Cooper, director of food services at Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colo.; Robert Jaber, executive director of food and nutrition services at District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C.; Amy Maclosky, director of food and nutrition services at Arlington Public Schools in Arlington, Va.; Stephen O'Brien, director of strategic partnerships and policy for food and nutrition Services at New York City Department of Education in New York City; Anneliese Tanner, executive director of food services and warehouse operations at Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas; and Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and wellness services at Minneapolis Public Schools in Minneapolis.
"Scratch cooking is no longer considered a niche in school food," Tanner said in a statement. "Districts of all sizes are trying to move toward scratch cooking and need a peer network to provide a touchstone for support throughout their journey."
ScratchWorks also has supporting partnerships with Brigaid, the Chef Ann Foundation, Harlem Children's Zone, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools and the Whole Kids Foundation.