Urban School Food Alliance welcomes Fairfax County Public Schools, expands membership to 19 of the largest districts in the United States

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2024 – The Urban School Food Alliance, a collaborative of the largest school districts in the United States, is pleased to announce that it will expand its membership to 19 districts with the addition of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). FCPS is the largest school system in Virginia and the 12th largest district in the United States, serving approximately 188,000 students on 198 campuses.

“The Urban School Food Alliance is excited to welcome FCPS to this growing group of school nutrition leaders and changemakers,” said Dr. Katie Wilson, Urban School Food Alliance Executive Director. “FCPS is transforming school food with their fresh products and innovative practices. We look forward to sharing in their momentum and expertise as we work to ensure students nationwide have access to high-quality, nutritious meals prepared and sourced through socially responsible practices.”

FCPS Food and Nutrition Services provides more than 18 million healthy meals annually. FNS is continuously revamping and expanding operations to become a more inclusive, engaged, and environmentally sustainable program, including current initiatives to elevate student voices, transition to scratch-made recipes, and minimize its carbon footprint.

“We are thrilled to be part of this organization as it provides us with the opportunity to positively impact the direction and perception of school meals in Fairfax County and beyond,” said Shaun Sawko, Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services. “We are eager to network with our fellow large school district peers and collaborate on best practices to overcome our unique challenges.”

The Alliance is a data-driven nonprofit founded in 2012 by school nutrition professionals in large, urban districts with a mission to change the landscape of child nutrition by:

  • Using strategic procurement to make high-quality ingredients available and affordable to schools;
  • Sharing evidence-informed practices and procedures from its membership with district nationwide; and
  • Leveraging its collective voice to advocate for policies that support programs and students.

Its achievements include helping school districts adopt an antibiotic-free standard for poultry, even before many of the nation’s leading restaurants called for healthier poultry on their menus, and removing 225 million polystyrene trays from landfills every year by implementing compostable round plates in school cafeterias. In October, the Alliance announced a new partnership with USDA to provide trainings and tools to school districts that will help them purchase high quality foods, while keeping costs low.

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