November/December 2015 Fresh Focus

Shine through the gloom of these late fall mornings with a delicious school breakfast! There's a Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge Summit coming up, and lots of other tidbits in our November/December Fresh Focus!

Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge Summit

In 2013, the Massachusetts School Breakfast Challenge incentivized schools to increase breakfast participation, and districts have risen to the occasion. On December 2nd, the MSBC partners will host a summit at the elegant Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium from 8am to 3pm to capitalize on the momentum. You'll get your hands dirty with recipe demonstrations, a smoothie blend-off, and team training from comedy connoisseurs Improv Asylum (no trust falls, we promise). Round up your school’s “breakfast team” and RSVP here.

"Are You Gonna Eat That?": Reducing Cafeteria Food Waste 

Earlier this fall, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asked the nation to work toward reducing food waste by 50%. Every year, Americans throw away $165 billion dollars of food, enough to fill America’s tallest skyscraper, the Willis Tower in Chicago, 44 times. While schools are doing a great job finding appealing recipes for kids and teens, that’s not the only opportunity for reducing food waste in school. 

recent U.S. EPA webinar spoke specifically to waste management strategies, from reducing initial waste, to recovering unwanted and uneaten food, to recycling leftover waste back into an onsite compost or animal feed. Some schools now maintain an extra refrigerator for unwanted milk that can then be donated to food pantries, who use it to meet the high demand for fresh dairy among patrons. School food service departments should also remember that the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act protects people from liability, should someone get sick from donated food, as long as food is donated in good faith. 

For more information on how schools can help reduce food waste, check out the slides.

Grant of the Month: No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength has grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 available for alternative school breakfast service. You can also get funds for afterschool meals start up or expansion, CACFP, SFSP, SNAP and WIC enrollment, or advocacy for these programs. Organizations must submit a letter of inquiry to with the subject line “NKH proposal - name of organization - program" ) (program refers to the federal nutrition program the grant will support). You will be notified whether to submit a full proposal within two weeks. Applications have a rolling deadline.

Gourds Aren't Just for Decorating, They're Also For Breakfast 

Here’s a fall take on a breakfast favorite: pumpkin pancakes. The recipe is taken from New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. This very slick collection was compiled by Vermont school meals professionals and features recipes that “bridge the gap between what we think children will eat and the foods that nourish their bodies and minds.”