Thank you to everyone who attended the forum on May 20. If you weren’t able to make it, you can catch up on what was presented and the questions we were able to get answered here.
Things are moving along! We’ve had three community meetings, 238 people take our survey, and have gathered feedback and challenges from our PPS Nutrition Director. I heard a lot of room in there for ways we can help with the challenges, and believe that if we keep working with her that every time she is planning a menu, the plant-based options will be more of a priority on her mind. We are now looking to take action and expand our core team as we move into our next steps over the summer. We’d love students, parents, and teachers to be involved, especially.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can commit to:
- Smaller focused strategic planning meetings, once or twice/month
- 1-2 hours/week moving initiatives forward
We’re going to schedule our next core meeting soon after school gets out. I know a lot of people go on vacation directly, but even if you can’t make it to a mid- or late-June meeting but can be involved for the rest of the summer and Fall, please let me know.
Some thoughts I had after the meeting, which we can discuss, and these are just starting points:
- Recipes/Taste tests: We could provide Whitney at PPS Nutrition with recipes that work at home (they would have to be adjusted for school requirements which we could ask for), and schedule a fun gathering where students can taste and score them. Whitney did mention she wants to know what works at home.
- Review the current menus: Are there some recipes that are almost plant-based that can just be tweaked rather than a prolonged 2-year rollout with sourcing new ingredients? Like they have done with the chickpea/chicken swap.
- Outreach to students/parents: How can we create more education/awareness of climate-friendly food so students look forward to Greener World Lunches and support it. How can we reach more students about the campaign- maybe instagram stories, a fun video students can make, etc?
- Local vendor options: We’d like to know where our group can do leg work for Whitney, like if she has specific needs for local providers like hummus, we can get a list to her to check out. Recognizing she has a whole slew of concerns, how can we make this easier?
- Boost engagement on plant-based menu dates: After talking to parents/students, I think we can also try to raise number of students and teachers getting school lunch on the plant-based dates. From our survey, we have a lot of people who have opted out completely. If we can get more people to buy lunches on that day, it proves that they could be a more popular option.
- Ask for what you need: If the non-dairy and vegan students request that soy milk, that would help raise the demand. Possibly ask the cafeteria lead for a vegan option for your student. When I was helping in the cafeteria, the kitchen lead told me she can do that, and Whitney mentioned they have that flexibility. Imagine if all the schools start getting these requests?
- Create a network of volunteers in each school: Our partners at Eco-School Network are already in many cafeterias. We can set up signups to do sampling, etc.
That’s a start, and I am excited to hear what ideas all of you have! I won’t be emailing the full group about anything but larger action items but will post links on this blog, FB and Twitter. If you want to be part of the steering committee- let me know!