Since the inception of EATS Park City in 2013, we have advocated for improved school food offerings in the Park City School District (PCSD). In December, 2015, EATS launched the Hungry for Healthy campaign (see video below) to garner support from the District, the School Board and Child Nutrition Services (CNS). Surveys, petitions, media coverage, presentations, and intense community involvement culminated at the January 19, 2016 school board meeting where school board members agreed that food in higher nutrition and free of potentially harmful ingredients was in the best interest of our students. The school board charged CNS to develop a three-year plan for major changes in the school food program.
CNS formed a Task Force consisting of stakeholders that developed a plan that was presented at the May 3, 2016 school board meeting. The result was the CNS “15 TO CLEAN” program – a three-year plan to remove 15 potentially harmful ingredients from school food while introducing healthier, made-from-scratch, locally sourced when possible, appealing food that kids will eat. To support this plan, the school board approved increased budget in June 2016 for capital equipment ($154,000) to upgrade school kitchens and increased food/labor expenses ($190,000 initially requested).
EATS is extremely pleased with the direction Park City School District is taking with its school food program. This change is a logical next step for a community dedicated to a whole child approach that helps every student in Park City schools reach their potential. The science continues to show how high quality, nourishing food sets students up for academic success, helps improve attention and focus during the school day, sow a greater appreciation and respect for food, and most importantly lays the foundation for life long healthy habits. EATS looks forward in assisting the school district with nutrition education as part of the 15 TO CLEAN program.
Beyond feeding students healthy, freshly prepared meals each day, with over 5,000 students in our district the number of meals served throughout the course of a school year has the potential to positively impact beyond the walls of our schools to our whole community.
There’s an exchange of food ideas that’s already starting to happen between our world class chefs and restaurants and our students through our menu innovation and collaboration. There’s the potential financial support of local farmers and food producers through all those meals. We’re also working hard to find new ways to support the incredible foodservice team who prepares the food and connect with our children every day at mealtime, and to create a lunch room experience which lets kids and teachers refuel during the school day in a way that is positive, nourishing and builds community. Food is one of the deepest ways we connect with each other.