Subject: Will SFUSD Scratch Cook School Lunch?
Ms. Woldow has done a yeoman’s job of researching, analyzing and communicating in very lucid prose what the challenges and opportunities are, if the bond to support creating regional school kitchens goes forward. This type of clear exposition helps to address the all too common gap between the best intentions and the real barriers to seeing these realized. Often times school food issues are seen as a simple lack of will to do the right thing and feed children fresh, scratch cooked food. In fact, as stated so eloquently by Ms. Woldow, facilities are only part of the equation. The right type of staffing, with the necessary skill set, fairly compensated for our high cost-of-living area, the right number of staff to engage in the more labor intensive food preparation, the staff to ensure optimal procurement and management of the food (ripening of fruit as an example), the warehouse space, the delivery costs (vehicle purchase and maintenance, insurance, labor), etc. Of course the menu would have to be designed to allow for the food safe preparation, transport and reheating, as needed, of the food brought over to other facilities, while still retaining the freshly prepared qualities that are the goal of this whole process.
While this is clearly a daunting undertaking it certainly seem worthwhile, as long as the right leadership, staffing and material resources are made available to plan and execute this. It is my hope that the ability and skill set needed to oversee this kind of process is included as essential criteria in the selection for a new Student Nutrition Services Director for the SFUSD. This would demonstrate the existing institutional commitment to seeing the potential of this project be realized.
Laura Brainin-Rodriguez MPH, MS, RD
Filed under: Letters to the Editor