Putting School Meals for All into Practice

Virtual gatherings for California school nutrition professionals focused on leadership, inspiration, and cultivating a successful school nutrition program.

About this Series

The School Food Innovator Series is a virtual quarterly gathering designed for members of the California Food for California Kids® Network. This series showcases innovation in school food leadership across the state and fosters connections between Network members and offers peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

About this Session

Hear from school food experts on managing School Meals for All operations, ideas for including nutrition services in district-wide decision making, serving more freshly prepared ingredients in the cafeteria, innovations for breakfast service, and more.


Chat: Putting School Meals for All into Practice

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Welcome! Please introduce yourself by typing your name, position, and where you work into the chat box. What are you looking forward to this fall?

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Hi everyone! Abby Halperin, Policy and Grants Manager for the Center for Ecoliteracy. I'm looking forward to my daughter's first Halloween! Suggestions of costumes welcome :)

Marley Nelms:
Marley Nelms, Dir. of Nutrition Services, San Dieguito Union High School District, Sweater Weather

Lynn Wong:
Lynn, Food Svc Prog Manager, Santa Rosa, CA.   Looking forward to fall harvests.

Rebecca Ward:
Rebecca Ward Acalanes Union HSD. My annual pumpkin carving party!

Jezra Thompson:
Hello Everyone! I’m brand new to the Center for Ecoliteracy as their Director of Programs. I come from public school leadership in nutrition and garden education and I'm looking forward to getting to know all the projects and the amazing constituents!

Dylan Hatami:
Dylan Hatami, Interim Coordinator, West Contra Costa USD.  I am looking forward to all the fall decorations and upcoming holidays.

Alexa Norstad:
Hi, everyone! Alexa Norstad, Executive Director at the Center for Ecoliteracy. Looking forward to apple picking with my kids for the Jewish New Year.

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
Hi Everyone! Jen here from LunchAssist. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the CSNA conference next month! & also ?!

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Quick Tip: If you’re connecting with your phone audio separate from your video, please make sure to rename yourself on your phone app, so that it says your name, and we can connect your audio to your breakout room.

Jim Koulias:
Hi everyone, Jim Koulias with the Center for Ecoliteracy, Deputy Director, and I'm looking forward to persimmons and other fall fruits.

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Ksenia Glenn from Upland, I'm looking forward to the coziness of the fall, candles, and fresh air!

Mike Munna:
Hi Everyone!  I am Mike, Director of Sales at LunchAssist

Michael Jochner:
- Lettuce Wizard @ MHUSD

Thailiya Thomas:
Hi everyone! Thailiya Thomas, FoodCorps Service Member at the Rio School District. I am looking forward to National Farm to School Month!

Anne Moertel | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Hi all, Anne Moertel, Outreach and Communications Manager at the Center for Ecoliteracy. Happy to see you all! I'm looking forward to cool fall walks…

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Books and Resources: Senorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G) - https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/556837/senorita-mariposa-by-ben-gundersheimer-mister-g-illustrated-by-marcos-almada-rivero/

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Additional Books Resources: The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña - https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399257742 Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña - https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399549045

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
USDA Resources: USDA SNAP-Ed Spanish Language Materials: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-education/spanish-language-materials USDA MyPlate Kitchen Hispanic/Latin American Cuisine Recipes: https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes?f%5B0%5D=cuisine%3A134&f%5B1%5D=program%3A128 Alliance for a Healthier Generation Spanish-Language Resources for Families: https://www.healthiergeneration.org/campaigns/kohls-healthy-at-home/en-espanol?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ActionCenterDigest_September15&utm_id=4119916

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Krysta’s Favorite Recommended Book: Family Pictures or Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza - https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780892392070

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
Great resources! Thank you for sharing! ?

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
National Farm to School Network resources - https://www.farmtoschool.org/our-work/farm-to-school-month Action for Healthy Kids - https://www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/celebrate-national-farm-to-school-month/ CAFF’s 7th Annual California Crunch - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfUNTLDXJvtDdz--d17iyCn0LdHkjTWG-DKFdJGBnz8H2VtIg/viewform

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Upland October Farm to school month celebration- Harvest of the Month is restarting !

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Upland is also switching all high school beef offering (ground beef and patties) to organic, grass fed beef from Mindful Farms <3 <3 <3

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
That's huge @Ksenia! ??

Cody Williams:
What’s the guarantee universal meals in the state will continue?

Yes it is permanent but we need to continue to push for entitlement funding versus appropriations funding for CA Universal Meals!! We do not want to run out of the funds :-)

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
@Cody, great question. Universal School Meals is now embedded in California state law. It would take another act of the legislature to make it go away, which would be politically very difficult given all the support for this groundbreaking policy.

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
@Kristin, agreed! And this is why we need to work hard to maximize all the federal funding available for school meals in the meantime

Rebecca Ward:
WE are planning a “coffee chat” w/the admin team & the FS teams at each school site so everyone can get to know each other

@Abby yes for sure but at a District like mine we are going to receive more state funding than federal even with maximizing our federal reimbursements. I know Capo is not alone in this.

Laura Davis:
Thank you Lisa!

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Awesome job, Lisa!

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
Thank you for sharing your expertise Lisa! Sounds like we need a masterclass from the Upland team! ?

Robin Hernandez:
LOVE this idea of working with LCAP.  Thank you Ksenia!

Eyana Spencer:
How do you pay for the gift cards? We aren't able to use Fund 13 in that way.

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
?? Chicken Adobo… recipe pls?

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Eyana, I pay for the gift cards myself. It's how I like to give back. It's $10 per card, a fraction of love our team deserves is how i feel ?

Jezra Thompson (she/her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
@Ksenia such love and generosity showcased and felt!The past District I worked with had a partner nonprofit that fundraised for staff and educators to access these monies for such gift cards and uplifting efforts. That may be a resource for some of you with partner organizations or PTA groups that align with your mission. Celebrating our teams is critical ?

Michael Jochner | MHUSD:
Mmmm, fresh granola!

Rebecca Ward:
recipes for these breakfast items would be fantastic!

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Those baked goods look DIVINE, Nancy!

Rosaizela Gutierrez:
Recipes would be wonderful!

Robin Hernandez:
Beautiful breakfast foods!! Great job!

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
This looks delicious, Nancy.

Sofia Vargas:
Nancy Can you share recipes? Looks delicious.

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
? When is the Lodi USD cookbook getting published?

Robin Hernandez:

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Ha! ^^

Cody Williams:
Great job Nancy!  Good to see you!

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Thank you, Ksenia and Nancy!

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
Reimbursement Rates for SY 22-23: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cNUVazwFovivHCLYUgLY8vn0FqT245r0/view?usp=sharing

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
September Checklist: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15yU4UrrzDhh75htVm0uHoYu1rkSOs058/view?usp=sharing

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
Social Media Toolkit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q9x9_-_JhXw4phgmVj2h5k7tvFbw6tIW/view?usp=sharing

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Success with School Meals for All:  https://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/success-with-school-meals-for-all  Making the Case:  https://www.ecoliteracy.org/download/making-case-healthy-freshly-prepared-school-meals

Sofia Vargas:
I'm Sorry but I have another meeting. Thank You for the information.

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
What strategies are you using to speed up the lunch line or provide students with additional time to eat? What has been successful in communicating School Meals for All with families and other stakeholders?  How will you use the KIT and training funds to enhance your freshly prepared meals?

Lynn Wong:
I'm Prov 2.  Can I do bulk meal count like SSO

Laura Davis:
How is everyone dealing with schools not giving students time to eat?

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Lynn- yes!

Jezra Thompson (she/her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
@Laura super question I look forward to diving into as well!

Crystal Whitelaw I Center for Ecoliteracy:
Join the California Food for California Kids Network: https://www.californiafoodforcaliforniakids.org/network-membership Fresh from California Menu Planning Support Sessions Archive: https://www.ecoliteracy.org/download/fresh-california-menu-planning-support-sessions School Food Innovator Series registration: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEscuutrj8tHNQAxqTqae9CBWkefaBkQgDV REMINDER: CDFA Farm to School Network Community of Practice #5 11/17/22, 1:30 p.m. PT CDFA Planting the Seed: Farm to School Roadmap for Success: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Farm_To_School_Report_20220222-small.pdf Chef Ann Foundation Get Schools Cooking Program Application: https://www.chefannfoundation.org/what-we-do/get-schools-cooking

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
@Laura, that's SUCH a good question. I would love to hear what solutions people are implementing at the district level on time to eat and to hear what policy solutions you'd like to see at the state level on this

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Some quick ideas on time to eat: If you can implement CEP or P2, you can reduce the time in the line and give kids more time to eat

Jen McNeil, RDN, SNS | LunchAssist:
We've also had such an influx of special diet requests, questions, etc. Have others been seeing this? More best practices and ideas on this topic would be awesome!

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Multiple points of sale can also speed up lunch lines

Abby Halperin (She/Her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Working with your principals on bell schedules, like Upland did, is GREAT

Rosaizela Gutierrez:
Thank you!

Jezra Thompson (she/her) | Center for Ecoliteracy:
Wonderful presentation and conversation!!!

Ksenia Glenn | Upland USD:
Thank you!!!