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USFA Member Aaron Smith, School Nutrition Director in Seattle Public Schools wins K-12 segment Silver Plate Award from IFMA. Aaron also serves on the USFA Board of Directors. Congratulations Aaron!

Urban School Food Alliance Districts Kick Off Back-to-School

New Menu Items Including Vegan & Vegetarian Options

NEW YORK, August 29 , 2019 – The Urban School Food Alliance (Alliance), a coalition of the largest school districts in the United States, kicks off back-to-school with new menu items that include vegetarian and vegan options. And media outlets are taking notice!

The following school districts opened in August:

Orange County Public Schools (Orlando) – August 12
Broward County Public Schools (Fort Lauderdale) – August 14
Miami-Dade County Public Schools – August 19
Dallas Independent School District – August 19
Los Angeles Unified School District – August 20

The following school districts will open classes in September:

Baltimore City Schools – September 3
Chicago Public Schools – September 3
Philadelphia Public Schools – September 3
Boston Public Schools – September 5
New York City Department of Education – September 5

***Click on the school districts to check out their 2019-2020 menus.***

Broward County Public Schools, for example, will not only introduce new menu items like Macaroni and Cheese in a Corn Bread Bowl, Southwest Chicken in a Corn Bread Bowl and Lemongrass Chicken. As reported in the NBC Miami/Fort Lauderdale, the school district will also introduce more vegan and vegetarian dishes this school year that include:

  • Sunbutter and Grape Jelly Sandwich made with sunflower butter
  • Vegan Chik’n Nugget Salad – the faux chicken is made of a soy blend to look and taste like chicken
  • Vegan Bean and Green Chili Burrito made with black beans and green chilis for a little spice
  • No Nut Butter with Smart Cookies, a Nutella-type spread made from peas and served with a low-sugar, cracker-like cookie

FOX Orlando interviewed Lora Gilbert, Alliance member and senior director of the food and nutrition program for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS).  She discussed the importance of incorporating the latest food trends in the district’s menu. In the TV interview, she talked about the successes of OCPS’s student taste test program before rolling out dishes district wide. This school year, OCPS will introduce new menu items that include Chicken Hacienda and a Nashville Hot Chicken Nugget Wrap with Cucumber Sauce.

Univision Dallas (story starts at 8:00) also featured the new menu items that Dallas ISD will serve this school year.  They include Spicy Golden Chicken Quinoa Quesadilla and “Chef Levi’s Pastalaya,” a jambalaya-inspired dish made with pasta.

Next month, New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) will roll out Meatless Monday for the first time. As reported on CNN earlier this year, the school district will only serve vegetarian dishes for breakfast and lunch on Mondays.

“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We’re expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”

Urban School Food Alliance districts provide the highest standards when it comes to students meals.  The group believes that providing access to fresh, healthy, delicious food to children is key to their health and academic success. It districts serve whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as foods low in sodium, sugar and fat.

About the Urban School Food Alliance

The Urban School Food Alliance was created by school food professionals in 2012 to address the unique needs of the nation’s largest school districts. The nonprofit group allows the districts to share best practices and leverage their purchasing power to continue to drive quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices.  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade, Orange County (Orlando), Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston together offer service to nearly 3.3 million children daily. This translates to more than 584 million meals a year.  The coalition aims to ensure that all public school students across the nation receive healthy, nutritious meals through socially responsible practices. To learn more about the Urban School Food Alliance or to support its work, please visit www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org.

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