Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon – The Food Services Advisory Committee met in a work session Monday, November 2, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bellview School Conference Room.
Ruth Alexander )
Dan Fellman )
Tracy Harding )
Laura Roll )
Eric Sandrock )
Mary Shaw )
Eva Skuratowicz )
Athena Storm )
Jill Turner )
Jill Williams )
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:33 p.m. by Ruth Alexander, Committee Chair. All members and interested parties introduced themselves. Eric Sandrock moved that the minutes of minutes September 28 and October 19, 2009, be approved as amended. Mary Shaw seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
II. Roll Check
All members were present with the exception of Nick Dake, one of the two student members.
III. Reports from Sub-Committees
1. Mary Shaw gave the report from the food sources subcommittee. She handed out a diagram of food and non-food sources that the subcommittee has been investigating. They have been talking to local bakeries to ask if they can provide bake and serve items. Emerald Hills Beef (EHB) is interested in supplying our beef. EHB wants a price and numbers. We discussed commodities and the fact that the preferences in the commodities could be shifted. The food sources subcommittee has been talking about this issue.
Mary Shaw reported on her talk with Food Services of America. They have someone on staff who works with food districts, and they have food buying clubs for school districts. Grants Pass and Central Point use them. Their school lunch coordinator will get in touch with Mary.
2. Tracy Harding spoke about local produce commodities. She is going to propose that Rogue Valley Farm to School pay an $80 membership for Food Hub. She is also going to a conference on food safety and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices). In the discussion of food safety and school gardens, Jill Turner suggested that we ask other districts about how they are dealing with legal liability for food handling for distributors, farms, and school gardens.
3. Jill Williams reported that she talked with people at the Grange about Master Gardeners as volunteers for the school gardens. Helman has added more beds to its garden and now has a greenhouse. She has put calls in to Guiseppi’s, Deux Chats, and Standing Stone for food court possibilities. She talked to the food scientist at Amy’s Kitchen about possibly doing something with the district. Tracy Harding added that maybe Amy’s Kitchen could be a processing site.
4. Laura Roll went over Offer vs. Serve and Dan Fellman added further clarification. Laura explained that there is a difference between food-based and nutrient-based requirements for school lunches. She reported on Nutrikids, which is software used to assess the nutritional values of the menus that are being served. She said that there is additional software that keeps the records necessary for free and reduced lunches. Jill Turner said that Powerschool currently keeps track of the free and reduced food reimbursements from the state. We are paid for free and reduced within 10 days of submitting the reports.
Laura Roll is investigating a milk machine which would reduce carton waste. Each ten gallon machine has two stations and the kids would fill up glasses. The question is how much of a tradeoff occurs when calculating the labor of washing the glasses.
5. Ruth Alexander reported that we spend a fair bit of money on garbage collection. She noted that at the AHS cafeteria, there were garbage cans filled with paper plates and plastic forks. A general discussion ensued about utilizing recycling and compost receptacles. Ruth Alexander had heard from food service workers that in the past, students would take leftover food for recycling/compost, but no longer do it. This may have been done by the Wilderness Charter school students. Tracy Harding added that we could talk to Jackson County Recycling for an audit.
Candy Hines noted that the issue with items like silverware is that some children end up throwing them away inadvertently. Jill Williams said that there could be a garbage can, a place for trays and a place for silverware. Jill Turner made the observation that the high school kids often take their food out to the Plaza and silverware might be lost.
Ruth Alexander reported on site visits and stated that there is no perfect place or district that exactly corresponds to our particular situation here in Ashland. She is setting up site visits in Lebanon and Cottage Grove. She brought up the constraints with labor costs. They are also a significant issue in other districts. Free and reduced compensation has been going up about 1 – 2% per year, whereas health care costs for employees has gone up 7 – 8%.
Ruth Alexander also talked about the misperceptions about this committee: in particular that its goal is to get rid of Sodexo and start a farm to school lunch program. We had a discussion that there is no uniform consensus on what farm to school means and that, as a committee, we are studying all of the methods of food delivery.
6. Eva Skuratowicz reported on the number cruncher subcommittee and our recent meeting in which Jill Turner laid out the three ways we can reduce costs: participation, labor, and costs per meal. One consideration is a central kitchen because it would reduce the kitchen duplication that could go on in the three elementary schools. A food court has been discussed by the number crunchers as a means to reduce costs at Ashland High School. Dan Fellman recommended that we talk to someone from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) or to a consultant who can give us price guidelines based on all the data that is collected from the school districts. Jill Turner will be speaking with someone from ODE about these areas. Also, the number crunchers will be putting together a questionnaire for site visits so that everyone is asking the same questions.
IV. High School Food Delivery Discussion
The food court idea became a larger discussion. Eric Sandrock suggested that we have a Community Food Court. Students would go to local businesses with a food card and could use it to order a “school lunch” which would be produced by the business and would be in compliance with nutritional standards of a school lunch. The existing cafeteria would provide something like a burrito and salad bar. The committee talked this over for a while and there was interest in this new approach to the high school.
V. Data Collection
Eva Skuratowicz, Jill Turner, and Ruth Alexander have been discussing data collection. Jeff Schlect has agreed to let us administer a very brief paper and pencil survey to all English classes at Ashland High School as well as send out an email survey to the parents. We will ask Steve Retzlaff about the possibility of administering a survey to Ashland Middle School students in homerooms as well as sending a homework slip home with a survey for the parents. We also want to send a brief survey home with all the elementary school kids in their Friday folders.
VI. Schedule Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on November 16, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bellview Conference Room.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Eva Skuratowicz, School Board Member.