Thursday, July 15, 2010

At the BIG D; School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference

For the past few days I attended the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Dallas, Texas.

The saying is true; everything is bigger in Texas including the Dallas Farmer’s Market! This Market is open every day from 8am-6pm and was LOADED with beautiful Texas fresh fruits and vegetables. The market was a short walk from the convention center and well worth the trip. I sampled super sweet fruits and it was great to see fresh shelled peas and beans for sale. It was also a great opportunity to get some good real food. While the food show at the conference had some fantastic real food offerings a lot of the companies still had VERY processed foods that I was not interested in looking at, never mind sampling…bubble gum flavored apples should say it all!

A few of the companies had items that were especially exciting. Chobani Greek yogurt now makes a kid’s version; Have Your Cake and Eat it Too Bakery makes delicious Spinach Yam Muffins and Squash Muffins, a great way to get vegetables into children’s food; Crunchfuls is a cereal company that manufactures cereals with lentils, beans and peas, Fantastic!

I had the opportunity to share the stage with three amazing chefs to speak about Chefs Move to Schools. (Left to Right) Chef Sam Kass of the White House, Chef Tony Geraci of Baltimore City Schools, Chef Brad Trudeau of Dallas Schools and me (in the sandals!). The School Nutrition Association invited the four of us to speak to over 300 people about one of the First Lady’s newest Let’s Move programs, Chefs Move to Schools. The people in the room asked many questions and our presentation was very informative and well received. I spoke about FEED USA's commitment to Chefs Move to Schools...(FEED USA bag in lower right corner of picture) more info coming soon.

One of the highlights of the conference was having the opportunity to walk the food show floor with three amazing people from Food & Nutrition Services of the USDA, Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton, Deputy Administrator Audrey Rowe(In middle of picture below with Sam Kass and I) & Special Assistant Norah Deluhery; and Chef Kass of the White House. While Congress authorizes the money and writes the laws these ladies and their counterparts at USDA do the leg work. While spending time with them at the conference we educated each other on our respective positions regarding Child Nutrition. This was great time to emphasize to them for the need to eliminate most processed foods from schools and focus on real foods. While it was like preaching to the choir, it also allowed me to strongly emphasize the need for serious additional funding. The current administration understands the importance of school nutrition as evidenced by the First Lady’s creation of Let’s Move.

While at ANC I attended many educational sessions which I will share in another BLOG post along with some great news from Capitol Hill about Child Nutrition Re-Authorization.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog chef. Seems as thought you kicked some butt there and got people to listen to our concerns about the quality of food we feed OUR kids right here in New Haven. As always seems as though you did a great job, as usual. Kudos to you...... ;-)