April 2018 Newsletter
Dear Friends,

Abraham Lincoln said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." With the end of the school year fast approaching, this is a good time to plan for summer professional development of the kitchen team. Topics to consider include production planning, just-in-time production, teamwork, leadership, time management, production records, portion control, local procurement, cooking skills, knife skills, offer vs. serve, waste systems, profit and loss analysis, purchasing/inventory/cost controls, customer service, taste testing, and recordkeeping.

Inciting much laughter, Chef Greg donned an attractive white suit to help prepare kalua pork for the first school lunch served in an imu, an ancient method of cooking pork in an underground pit overnight. The story was picked up nationally by several media including U.S. News & World Report . Beyond Green Partners is honored to work alongside team 'Aina Pono, a collaborative public-private partnership between School Food Services Branch/Hawaii Department of Education, the Lieutenant Governor's office, and the Kohala Center to increase the local agricultural economy and connect children to the food system.
Featured Article
Looking at Your Students as Customers
Why would you want to know what your students think about your school food? Consider your kids are your customers, and you want to service their preferences as well as their best interests. Restaurants have comment cards. Grocery stores taste test new products to thousands of people before introducing the item on the shelves. And food companies conduct market research before beginning to develop a new product. Discovering what kids want to eat benefits the students, the school, and the community in many ways. Following are a few of those ways:
 
  1. Ignite student empowerment: When students have a say in what they eat, they find their voice, and discover the influence they have through self-expression which not only includes better lunches, but also in taking care of the community as a whole. Through student engagement, participation in the school lunch program increases.
  2. Decrease food waste: Approximately 30% of school lunches everywhere ends up in the garbage, but this amount decreases when students are involved in the process through taste tests, surveys, and student lunch action groups. Instead of throwing away food, the money can be reinvested in training, local farm products, and educating students about healthy eating.
  3. Increase food security: Way too many students who qualify for free meals do not eat school food due to the unappetizing appearance of the lunch, but by listening to what students want to eat, you begin to make food that aligns with their preferences and more kids eat.
  4. Establish healthy behaviors: Kids who are raised eating processed foods full of unrecognizable ingredients that come from boxes and cans will develop a palate for these foods making it significantly harder to choose fresh, healthy foods on their own.
  5. Build community: Students at a pilot farm to school program liked having a voice and better food so much that they rallied for all kids in all schools to receive the same. The students pleaded to legislatures, they made and shared posters and videos, and they spoke eloquently to key stakeholders bringing the community together to figure out how to make healthy food that kids like to eat.
 
Begin the journey to giving your students a voice in their school lunches with a simple survey.
Green Schools Conference and Expo
Just a couple weeks away. Hope to see you there!

Chef Greg Christian, along with public and private partners from the Hawaii Farm to School Initiative, will host a featured panel at the Green Schools Conference and Expo 2018 on May 4 in Denver, CO.

Click here to read about Chef Greg's presentation, Greening the School Cafeteria through Public/Private Partnerships, in the conference newsletter, and for further conference details
School Food Resources
Smarter Lunchrooms Movement

Smarter Lunchrooms creates inviting lunchrooms that make the healthy choice the easy choice, nudging students to choose nutritious foods. Engaging students in school meals improves customer satisfaction, gives students the opportunity to provide creative ideas and create positive change while building an encouraging relationship with the school food service staff.
How To Create an Effective Training Program: 8 Steps to Success.

Tips for developing an efficient and effective employee training program.
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Thanks again for the continued support. Drop us a line (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the old fashioned way), we would love to hear from you!

Sincerely,

Greg Christian
312-275-6801