Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon – The Food Services Advisory Committee met in a work session on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bellview School Conference Room.
Athena Storm )
Eric Sandrock )
Tracy Harding )
Shannon Wolff )
Jill Williams ) Committee Members
Laura Roll )
Jill Turner )
Ruth Alexander )
Eva Skuratowicz )
Dan Fellman )
Karen Green )
Nicholas Dake )
Mary Shaw )
Others in attendance:
Cindy Drought, Jeff Ashmun, Melinda Lidbetter, Candy Hines (arrived at 4:25)
Pam Lessley, the Nutrition Services Director from Lebanon Community Schools
3:35 meeting called to order.
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by the Chair, Ruth Alexander.
II. Roll Check
All members were present with the exception of Mary Shaw.
III. Introduction of Guest
Pam Lessley, the Nutrition Services Director from the Lebanon Community Schools in Lebanon, OR was introduced by the Chair.
IV. Minutes from the 11/16/09 meeting were neither distributed nor approved. They will be discussed at the December 14 meeting.
V. Community Food Court Sub-Committee Report
The meeting was attended by Dan, Laura, Jill W., Tracy, Danielle Amarotico (Standing Stone owner) and Eric Bell (Standing Stone chef). An extensive report from the sub-committee will be presented at a future meeting.
VI. Report from Pam Lessley
Ruth and Eva introduced guest Pam Lessley, Nutrition Services Director from Lebanon Community Schools.
The committee was interested in hearing Pam describe and discuss the school garden project which is providing fresh food for the school food services in Lebanon. The Garden started in the early 2000’s when Rick George, a teacher and baseball coach, wanted create an outdoor classroom. They built garden plots that kids could experiment with by growing whatever they wanted to grow. When he retired to care for his ill wife, weeds took over. He later came back part-time. Pam suggested getting Master Gardeners (MG) to help reclaim plots and 2 large green houses. Got 3-4 interested MGs who were eager to work at school. One had tractor. Got principal on board. 14 students who were not doing well in classroom (they had minor learning disabilities) did the cleaning and work necessary to get the greenhouses running. Seedlings were planted with help from MG. The district has a lot of land, so they took part of the football field and plowed it to make a larger production garden. More than 90 kids came. (Pam will send PowerPoint.) Now Pam is buying produce and using it in the cafeterias. They are donating surplus to a local soup kitchen.
The garden provided much produce for the salad bar in their summer programs. In fall they had corn, tomatoes, peas, etc. Pam reported that the kids are proud and excited. The leap in their math scores was incredible from having to figure out practical arithmetic and geometry to plan their gardens. Students sit and write while in the garden. One child wrote that gardening made him feel good about himself, made him realize that people care about him. The one on one work in the garden is powerful to the students, and academic gains were something they didn't expect to see so vividly.
Pam using the produce in the cafeterias and provides tasting tables/trays so while students are in line waiting for lunch, she allows them to taste vegetables and fruits from the gardens. As a result, they are much more likely to eat those vegetables and fruits from the salad bar.
Tool costs: easy to get donations. MG brought some tools.
Produce sales: Pam pays the garden project what she'd pay her produce distributor and it goes back into program. She pays the coordinator for 12 hours/week. She is allowed to buy seeds for the garden. They also get plant donations from local big box stores like WalMart and Home Depot.
Currently they are planning a 5 acres fruit orchard, with 125+ trees. Will be cared for by MG, principal & teacher at the site along with the students.
Summer maintenance - there is a group of kids working on GED that come in to weed. Parents help in exchange for produce.
The District received a grant from their local hospital to put up 2 hoop greenhouses to extend the growing season. They partner with the hospital's Community Health Improvement Partnerships (CHIPs) program The Teaching garden is at the Middle School - "classroom w/o walls", teacher has written a curriculum specific that has been approved.
The Production Garden is near the orchard with 100' rows. It will feed all schools w/o gardens. Production garden is now all volunteer.
The District food services do a sack supper for any after school program that is academic and open to everyone, the school site has to be at 50% free & reduced to be able to do that.
Pam believes that the kids are gaining life skills that they can teach their parents.
Described food safety as commonsense/non issue. Brought us guidelines for handling.
They don't hide vegetables. They don't do a lot of scratch cooking, mostly because of labor costs. Most of what is served from the garden is raw. They use 100% of their commodity money: $87,000. She diverts into better products. All meat from USDA commodity is now breaded. Pam is looking to divert chicken patties to get non breaded. Fridays is pizza day from Figaro/take & bake, they deliver and to each school and kitchens bake on each site. Pizzas made by Figaro with her district’s commodity cheese.
Pam explained the way her school food services work: Elementary schools have 4 entrée choices, Middle School has 6 choices, HS has 8 entrée choices.
k-5 345 students, 71% served, of those 66% are free & reduced
k-8 490 students 77% served meals and of those 79% are free & reduced
HS meal $2.00, grade school $1.50
Kids punch in their own numbers. No student labor in schools other than HS. HS worker- students are paid.
Pam calculated that in one year she saved $37,000 by using durable plates vs disposable. She does use disposable flatware in favor of durable primarily due to labor costs for washing.
The staff notices kids who don't eat and calls the office to ask to have a Free & Reduced form sent home.
29 employees in Lebanon food service. ASD has 11 hours of labor per elementary school, more at Middle School - Pam has more labor hours at her schools.
Pam carried over $675,000 from the year before. Food Service fund is a separate account from General Fund. Bought equipment and is now paying her own utilities which will reduce carry over.
She said in her district it is a struggle to educate parents about eating well. There are a lot of students who come to school hungry
Breakfast is rolled out on salad bar carts and kids get it in the hall and take it into the classrooms.
Trial and error to find what works in each district.
Pam brought a questionnaire that she uses for our perusal: How is the Financial Health of Your School Food Service?
VII. Announcement of Next Meeting
12/14/09 we will have a visit from Food Services of America
Items to be discussed in the future: pros and cons of school gardens; school surveys about cafeteria usage. Food court idea: community food court and in-house high school food court.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 by the chair.
Respectfully submitted by Ruth Alexander.