Dec 17, 2015

School Food Spotlight: Project Produce

Thank you for supporting the Lunch Box Expansion Project!

We're proud to report that The Lunch Box is helping hundreds of school districts across the country serve healthy, scratch-cooked meals to students. Since the launch of the updated and expanded Lunch Box in September, 2014, over 3,600 people have become registered users. Of those, 1,840 are school food professionals or school staff, representing over 1,100 school districts in 49 states! 

They are using the free Lunch Box tools and resources to make changes to their school nutrition programs. We have over 200 healthy, scalable, UDSA-compliant school food recipes available for download, along with dozens of financial, management, procurement and marketing tools. Users have downloaded Lunch Box resources over 16,800 times!

In addition to these free tools, The Lunch Box posts up-to-date information about school food granting programs that provide the technical assistance and equipment schools need to improve their meal programs. Currently accepting applications is one program called Project Produce, which is designed to engage kids of all ages with eating and learning about fruits and veggies, so that foods like broccoli, beets, or black beans end up in their bellies, not the trash. The grant provides $2,500 for schools to purchase fruits and veggies that will be used as part of a school-wide nutrition education activity. These activities allow kids to try new things, which helps them expand their palates and develop healthy eating habits that will stick with them through childhood and beyond. 

Not only does The Lunch Box provide information on the grant, it also has comprehensive how-to guides for many nutrition education activities. Whether it’s a simple Tasting, or a more creative idea like a Rainbow Day, a Chef Demo, or even a Junior Chef Competition, The Lunch Box has all the information and tools you need to plan a successful event. 

We want every school food professional in the country to know about the free resources available to them. You can help us by sharing information about Project Produce with your school district’s director of nutrition services and encouraging them to apply today. School food is hard work, and we're here to help anyone who is committed to healthy meals for all students!

You can stay up to date on all of the Chef Ann Foundation's programs and projects by signing up for our newsletters.

Yours in the school food fight,



Sep 22, 2015

Evolving School Food Needs Evolving Resources

It's been one year since The Lunch Box re-launched with new resources, recipes, and tools to help school food service professionals across the country feed children healthy, nourishing food. Since then, 2,663 people have registered as users of the site, downloading Lunch Box tools and resources 12,756 times!

Of those registered, 1,373 are school staff representing 864 school districts in 49 states (Hawaii - we're looking at you!) 

With so many people using the site on a regular basis, and over 30 million children eating school lunch each day, one of our highest priorities is to keep The Lunch Box fresh and relevant with new tools that address the evolving needs of school food staff.

For example, given the rise of antibiotic resistance and the increased demand for antibiotic-free meat, we recently updated the Lunch Box's Procurement section with our Responsibly-Produced Meat and Poultry page. Resources on the page answer questions like how realistic is it to source responsibly-produced meat and poultry for your school programs? Can you afford it? How can you ensure that producers are transparent with their on-farm practices? 

A school isn't an isolated institution; it's an integral and integrated part of the community. Schools food programs need to continue evolving to respond to the community's nutritional priorities, whether it be more fresh fruits and vegetables or less antibiotics in meat production.

Thank you for helping ensure that The Lunch Box is able to evolve to continue helping schools meet the changing needs of their communities. 


Jul 20, 2015

The School Food Fight is On(going)!

Thank you so much for supporting the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) with your gift to "The School Food Fight is On!" campaign!

This fall, Congress will vote on the new Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. The standards that ensure every child has access to nutritious school food are up for review. Common-sense rules - like the requirement that every school meal includes one serving of fruit or vegetable - could be rolled back, and all of us at CAF are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen.

You can read more about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act on Chef Ann Cooper's U.S. News & World Report blog.

We need to show Congress that every school can - and should! - serve children healthy, scratch-cooked meals made with fresh, nutritious food. School Food Heroes like Sherri Matuszyk, food service director for Wethersfield School District in Illinois are showing how it's done with CAF's support. A small district with 578 students, Wethersfield had big success introducing a salad bar program that ensures that students have daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. They received 2 salad bars through CAF's Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools program.

The folks at Centennial Elementary school in Denver, CO hosted a 2015 Spring Wellness Fair, demonstrating that schools, parents and kids care about healthy eating. They used the funds from a CAF Project Produce grant to purchase the fruits and vegetables for the event, which included a fruit and veggie costume contest, fruit and veggie sampling, a smoothie stand, a silent auction, and student-composed veggie poems and artwork on display! 

These are just two of the hundreds of schools and districts that are benefiting from CAF's tools, grants, and resources available through The Lunch Box.

Thank you for helping us to ensure that our programs will continue to support schools committed to healthy food for their students! You can stay up to date on The School Food Fight by signing up for our newsletter or following us on Facebook or Twitter.

Yours in the school food fight,

Michele, Director of Development


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