In the spring of 2013, Park City parent Ann Bloomquist watched a documentary that sparked her curiosity about what Park City students eat at school. Ann approached local chef Susan Odell who had a similar interest. Together they met with Park City School District’s Child Nutrition Services Director, Kathleen Britton, to learn about the school lunch program. What resulted was a partnership that jump-started a movement toward improving school food in Park City, Utah and the founding of the nonprofit organization EATS Park City.
The 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act authorized the USDA to update 30-year-old nutritional standards for public schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) which resulted in mandated changes to what food would be allowed to be served in those schools.
Britton immediately began substituting acceptable food with limited success.Students not used to brown rice, whole-wheat bread and foods lower in sodium and sugar rejected the “improved” food. Participation fell and trash bins filled. Food education and improved taste was needed but resources were tight. That is when Britton met Bloomquist and Odell and recognized an opportunity to collaborate. All agreed our students deserved to “eat awesome things at school” and we would join forces to make that happen.
EATS – Eat Awesome Things at School – was founded in May 2013 on the catchphrase “it’s an evolution, not a revolution.” Soon after, a diverse membership joined the effort, ranging from parents to teachers, farmers to school administrators, and even students themselves.
EATS members have inspired a myriad of new school food initiatives, including lunchtime taste tests, after-school cooking classes, school gardens and from-scratch lunches. Supported by dedicated school staff, generous donations, and countless volunteer hours, EATS continues to work toward its goal of enhancing the Park City school lunch program to provide healthy, tasty and affordable food for our children.