Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County Oregon—The Food Services Advisory Committee met in a work session Monday, October 19, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bellview School Conference Room. Present were:
Ruth Alexander )
Dan Fellman )
Tracy Harding )
Laura Roll ) Committee Members
Eric Sandrock )
Mary Shaw )
Jill Turner )
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:35 by Ruth Alexander, Committee Chair.
II. Roll Check
All members were present with the exception of Nick Dake, Eva Skuratowicz, and Athena Storm.
III. Reports on Committee Assignments
Mary Shaw spoke about the fresh food sources available in Southern Oregon. She listed four categories of sources for purchasing fresh foods and discussed these in detail.
Regional sources: Under this category are Food Hub and Ecotrust.
Conventional Suppliers: Food Services of America; United Naturals; Organically Grown.State Commodity Commissions who support F2S: OR Potato Commission; OR Dairy Council; pear commission; 26 total commodity commissions in Oregon. Local Sources: Individual farms; local sustainable meat producers; and local producers of products—salad dressing; bread products; nut butters; etc.
Questions remain as to whether state-buying cooperatives can be formed—where hospitals, schools/colleges, jails, etc, can all buy fresh, local, sustainably- produced food together.
Laura Roll gave an overview of the state and federal regulations for safety and nutrition. She spoke about 5 year audits which are performed on site to determine compliance. She also discussed the software tools available to allow for compliance with nutritional standards. Overall, Laura said that being in compliance means following the rules as they are clearly stated. One rule is that the meal service program must operate as a non-profit program.
Tracy Harding presented a report on the Ashland School District’s food delivery and storage capabilities as they relate to using more “from scratch cooking” and fresh local produce and products. She suggested that in order to run a “from scratch” kitchen the cafeteria employees said they would like to have some skill workshops—two in particular: a knife skills and a scratch-cooking skills workshop.
Karen Green’s report was on a survey she did at the high school to find out why faculty members eat in the cafeteria and why they don’t. Many issues were raised: noise; crowding; lines; many people bring food from home to save money; healthier food at home; break from being with students; it takes too much time to go to the cafeteria and wait in line; unsanitary conditions in the cafeteria; some faculty miss the overall quality that was there when ABC ran the High School food services. They would like coffee available and fruit smoothies. (Jill Turner said fruit smoothies are against regulations)
Eric Sandrock reported on the Middle School cafeteria usage. He interviewed faculty about why they do or don’t use the cafeteria and many of the same issues came up as at the HS: they can bring healthier food from home; break from the students; time it takes; noise level; don’t like the quality of the food. He suggested that the cafeteria offer a healthy salad to go, which he believes teachers would buy. He spoke about how produce from the middle school garden used to be used in the cafeteria, but now food from the garden is not allowed. Instead, the garden supports itself by selling produce to staff and families.
Shannon Wolff said that the change from “Launa’s Kitchen” to this year has been very hard. She reported that there is a general sense of unhappiness at Walker. Many of the new, healthier recipes that were developed last year are not being used. Launa’s famous from-scratch cinnamon rolls have been replaced by a pre-made product. The new cafeteria manager seems to be struggling. Long lines mean that some children don’t have enough time to eat in a relaxed way. Teachers she spoke with don’t want to eat in the cafeteria because they make use of the time away from students; and because they bring healthier food from home. Overall, she spoke of the general sense of confusion that is apparent in the cafeteria now. (Mary Shaw suggested that Launa is a difficult act to follow.)
Dan Fellman did a study of “in-house” programs use of local produce. He found that in the Bay Area there is a “healthy, local food” alternative to Sodexo, which is based on a central kitchen concept and uses locally sourced/some organic produce.
Ruth Alexander followed up Dan’s report with some information she learned from the Davis, CA school district about their Local, Sustainable Farm to School food program. They have a central kitchen which supplies eight elementaries, 3 middle schools, 1 high school, and also sells food to the local Catholic School. Gail Feenstra, the U.C. Davis advisor to the program, said that funds are raised for the Davis program through grants and donations. This provides funding for a “Forager” who is the farm to school coordinator/manager for the entire district.
IV. General discussion
Members were directed to begin their sub-committee work outside of overall committee meeting times, so that sub-committee reports can begin to be presented at our next meeting.
Ruth Alexander will work on setting up some site visits. A visit to the Davis schools was suggested and also to the Bend School District in OR. We will look into possibilities in Eugene and Portland.
V. Schedule Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on November 2, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bellview School Conference Room. The following additional meetings will be held: November 16, November 30, and December 14, 2009
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:05 pm .
Respectfully submitted by Ruth Alexander, Committee Chair