Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s recently formed Task Force on Culturally Inclusive School Meals and Calendars has released its list of recommendations to make school meals more culturally inclusive.
The task force shared a variety of suggestions for districts, including creating an assessment tool that would allow districts to educate themselves on students’ customs, cuisines and cultures, and evaluate their current practices related to school meals to identify areas for growth.
Schools should also work with local businesses, organizations and faith communities to launch culturally inclusive food pantries at schools and colleges, per the committee.
Additionally, the task force said schools should encourage events such as cultural nights, implement special menus to recognize different religious holidays and make announcements to spread awareness about cultural traditions. Students and families should also be involved when making changes to the menu.
The state's task force, which met throughout the summer, was made up of students, parents, teachers, nutrition experts and others.