At the school board meeting on Tuesday Dec. 14 four parents spoke on behalf of Healthy Schools Culver City in support of two requests. First, requesting that the district publish the nutritional information for the current menu items and also creating a working group to explore options for improving the food service program.
Julie Garcia, food service director, spoke defending her current program as “meeting the standards” and citing cost and contractual obligations to a multi-district buying cooperative as barriers to bringing in organic or farmers market produce – two options that parents discussed.
The board has asked district staff to prepare a report on the nutritional content of the current food service program and to meet with parents following the completion of this report. Board Member Kathy Paspalis said she felt that merely meeting the standards was “not good enough and we should be aiming higher than that.” I used the analogy that meeting the standards was like aiming for a C grade. We should be aiming for “A’s” because we are an ” ” district in so many ways and we should have an “A”meal program as well.
I’m encouraged that the board was supportive of our request and I plan to follow-up with members and with Julie to ensure that the nutritional report is completed as soon as possible (we asked originally 9 months ago!) and to lay out some suggestions for next steps. I am beginning intensive out reach to Ann Cooper (Renegade Lunch Lady), Congresswoman Diane Watson, Compton and Santa Monica School Districts (who have organic produce components to their programs), local chefs and others to try to find local, cost-effective, kid-approved, successful models. I welcome any additional leads you have to offer.
I hope you all have a wonderful winter break and Happy New Year. I plan to convene another HSCC meeting in January or February and hope you can join me. Thanks for all your support in support of better food for our kids.
Maggie Memmot Walsh is a Culver City mom who gets a big “A-plus” for community activism.