Our county schools need a new and bigger kitchen. That was the conclusion for many attending the recent Food Summit, looking at our county’s school lunch program and hoping to find ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms and doing more from scratch cooking. A panel of experts, some who have implemented similar changes in their own communities, were asked to take a look at our Nevada County programs and see where changes could be made. Grass Valley School District Superintendent Eric Fredrickson attended the event along with about 70 community members and says our school cafeterias are not made to cook but are essentially warming ovens.
“There are not really any kitchens that are made for cooking big meals, volume meals. Basically what happens is you’ve got a central kitchen facility. They have the ability to cook. A lot of it is not big enough to do things from scratch. Most of it is just heating it up and putting it in the packages as more of an assembly line and then it’s brought out to the schools in cold packs and then we have warming ovens at the school site. So basically what we have is just warming ovens.”
Roxanne Gilpatrick the Superintendant of the Nevada County School District says she sees the support of the community to make changes to improve school lunches and the goal fits well with the district’s wellness program goals as well as the county’s Live Healthy Nevada County program.
“The idea of adding more fresh fruits and vegetables, through the federal program, there are some commodities that you can receive and I think that the local movement in Nevada County is Live Healthy Nevada County and people, vendors, merchants, farmers are all looking for a way to make this work.”
The group is looking for more ideas and support and a kitchen. If you want to know more about the healthy School food initiative go to livehealthynevadacounty .com.