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September 2017
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RFFK Launches the
Lunch Room Collective

A Unique Partnership Aiming to Create Better School Meals

Real Food for Kids announced last month the launch of The Lunch Room Collective, an alliance of school, industry, agriculture, nonprofit and policy-making partners focused on raising the profile of and conversations around school meals as a catalyst for change in communities and public health. The Collective seeks to identify the barriers to building high quality, affordable and sustainable school meals programs and advance solutions that lead to a systematic change in the way we feed students.  
School meals play a critical role in not only feeding students well, but also influencing their choices outside school walls and into adulthood. By ensuring all students have access to fresh, whole foods, free of harmful artificial additives and preservatives, while educating them and their families on the academic, physical and emotional benefits of healthful choices, schools can impact the health outcomes of future generations.

Unfortunately, the narrative around school meals - one of stigma and poor quality - persists, impeding improvement in even the most proactive and innovative school food programs. Changing school food requires changing school food culture. Re-framing the narrative requires the collaboration of diverse stakeholders whose combined reach can educate a broad constituency and whose combined voice can shape policy. Through community-based initiatives, the Lunch Room Collective will bring a unique approach to addressing the complex issues that hinder improvement in school food culture and programs. More on our mission and members.

Learn More About Real Food for Kids
Come to Our Monthly Meeting 

Our monthly meetings are open to anyone interested in learning more about our work and ways to become involved. Meetings are 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Won't you join us?

September 21, Gatehouse Administration Center, Fairfax
RFFK's Executive Director, JoAnne Hammermaster, will be attending this meeting to discuss our plans and new initiatives for the upcoming school year.

October 19, Mount Vernon Government Center, Alexandria

November 16, North County Government Center, Reston

Can't make it but want to learn more? Send us an email!

Welcome Emma Choi
RFFK Student Representative

Emma Choi joined the RFFK Board of Directors in June as our Student Representative, succeeding Suzie Bae, now a freshman at William and Mary. Emma is a senior at George C. Marshall High School and passionate about raising awareness about the impact of nutrition on the quality of student life. She will be overseeing the initiatives of SNAC, RFFK's Student Nutrition Advisory Council which is working on a student school food survey.  Emma also serves as Vice President to the FCPS Student Advisory Council and sits on her school's Executive Board. Through both, she hopes to inspire student-run initiatives to promote school nutrition. Outside of her school-related activities and interests, Emma is a published poet and a professionally produced playwright.
Is Your School Getting a Salad Bar?
2017-2018 Schools Need Parent Help at Openings 

Salad Bar Riverside 2017
Schools receiving salad bars this year have been scheduled beginning with Annandale Terrace ES on September 7. Students will receive "Salad Bar Etiquette Training" prior to the opening covering topics such as using hand sanitizer before touching tongs, keeping heads out from under the "sneeze shield," and making smart choices about how much to take.

Salad bar openings will typically be scheduled for Wednesday and - because students will have a LOT to remember and because they will be VERY excited about their new salad bar - parent volunteers are needed to help students on the first few days. If you are able to volunteer at your school, please contact Mary Porter for details.

Schools opening in the 1st Quarter are: Annandale Terrace ES, September 7;  Mount Eagle ES, September 13 ; Clermont ES, September 20 ; Kent Gardens ES, September 27 ; McNair ES, October 4 ; Oakton ES, October 12 ; Centre Ridge ES, October 18 ; Bucknell ES, October, 25 ; Great Falls ES. November 1.

Want to learn more about FCPS Salad Bars? Watch this video!

Want to drum up excitement for your salad bar? Have students draw favorite fruits and vegetables and create a gallery outside your cafeteria. Have parents, teachers or administrators dress up as a fruit or vegetable on the day of your opening. There are many creative ways to build interest that align with health, nutrition and STEM instruction!

Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx)

In partnership with Loudoun Hunger Relief  and Healthworks of Northern Virginia, Real Food for Kids has been part of a groundbreaking program to fight childhood obesity through the Integrated Pediatric Care program funded by a grant from Northern Virginia Health Foundation.  The program provides a fresh fruit and vegetable prescription (FVRx) and classes for the whole family.

Children participating in the program are referred to a nutritionist who prescribes a weekly box of fresh produce, supplied by local farmer A Farm Less Ordinary. Real Food for Kids' Bonnie Moore, Culinary Director at Willowsford, has been teaching kids and family members how to prepare these fresh vegetables to enjoy raw, blanched or roasted, how to make healthy salad dressings and sauces, and how to enjoy fresh fruits and veggies at any time of the day, as a replacement for high sugar or high fat foods.

Kids in the program are reporting weight loss of 12-13 pounds after a couple of months and an enthusiasm for "eating the rainbow." Program's coordinator, Erika Huddleston, associate director of Loudoun Hunger Relief, says "we are encouraged by the results of the participants who have taken full advantage of the weekly produce boxes and monthly classes." Chef Bonnie says the effort the families are making to attend the cooking classes is fantastic. "The enthusiasm these kids are showing at theses classes is translating to action. They are really committed to eating better."

Chef Bonnie was recently featured on CBS This Morning in a story about the Willowsford community and the rise of neighborhood farms and agrihoods. 

RFFK Honored by Virginia Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences

Real Food for Kids received the Outstanding Business and Industry Award from the Virginia Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences in July. The award
is presented to business and industry partners throughout the state that support family and consumer sciences programs.  RFFK was recognized for our partnership with FCPS Family and Consumer Sciences on our annual Culinary Challenge and Wellness Expo. The award was presented to Mary Porter (left), Mary Pope (right) and Bonnie Moore (not pictured), shown here with Regina Morrone, Program Manager for Family & Consumer Sciences in FCPS. "We are really excited to be recognized with this award," said Mary Pope, who has directed the Culinary Challenge since its inception and negotiated the partnership agreement with FCPS, "because our work with FCPS has allowed students to have a voice in improving school food while showcasing their culinary talents and imagination. This is how we get to healthier choices in our schools. We're proud to have this strong partnership that supports that mission."
Whole Foods Community Giving Day Benefits FCCPTA
You Can Also "Stuff the Bus" 

The Fairfax County Council of PTAs has organized a Community Giving Program with six Northern Virginia Whole Foods stores on September 20. FCCPTA will receive 5% of the store's net sales. A flyer with details is shown below.

Shoppers also have an opportunity to "Stuff the Bus" with shelf-stable items from Whole Foods that will be distributed to the area's needy families.

FCCPTA has been a longtime supporter of Real Food for Kids, and was the first organization to sign on to our resolution to improve school food nearly seven years ago. As a member of your school PTA, you can access the resources of both FCCPTA and the National PTA, whose Healthy Lifestyles program offers a wealth of school health toolkits and ideas for parents. We hope to see you at Whole Foods on September 20th to support FCCPTA! 
Stuff the Bus 2017
Where RFFK Has Been This Summer   

In July, we sampled flavored waters as an alternative to sugary beverages at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry with help from Master Food Volunteers from Virginia Cooperative Extension and Graduate Students from George Mason University School of Food and Nutrition Studies.

Kingsley ABCD Camp
In August, Chef Diana Nash worked with students from the ABCD Camp at Kingsley Commons to make a healthy salad. Campers at ABCD team up in the kitchen to make a cooked lunch each day. The salad was a great compliment to the spaghetti on the menu that day.

Chef Nash's son, Quinn, helped out making healthy snack mix samples for a Back to School Event with the Washington Redskins at Fedex Field. Students also sampled our flavored waters and took away handouts on the impact of too much sugar on growing bodies.

On Labor Day weekend, we joined our colleagues from FCPS Food and Nutrition Services at the inaugural Back to School event at Tyson s Corner Center. Patrons were treated to our healthy sna ck mix and flavored waters, sponsored by Wh ole Foods Market.
Coming Up... 

Real Food for Kids' Executive Director, JoAnne Hammermaster, will be a panelist at the No Kid Hungry Virginia Summit in Richmond September 18-19.

We'll be making our "Big Salad" Graham Road Community Health Fair on September 23 alongside FCPS Food and Nutrition Services who will be talking about the great changes on the lunch line.

We'll celebrate our 6th annual Food Day event with students, teachers and staff at Herndon Elementary School on October 24. 

Real Food News from Georgia 
Salad Bars in Cobb County 
All high schools in Cobb County, Georgia started the school year with new Creation Station salad bars, instituted by Monique Johnson, Associate Director of Nutrition for the county. Through our Georgia affiliate, RFFK advocated for salad bars in Cobb which were piloted at four schools last year. The Creation Stations will give students and staff to "power to fuel their own culinary creation," says Johnson. The stations will be stocked with locally Georgia Grown produce as well as proteins to make a compete entrée meal if desired.

"My son is a junior at [Walton High School]. He was quite excited about the create-your-own-salad station and enjoys it very much. I wanted to sincerely thank you and everyone involved in bringing this healthy and fresh food option to the school cafeteria. My son prefers to be vegetarian so earlier he would often skip lunch if I didn't pack him something. Now, he has this as backup."

A Letter to USDA Secretary Perdue  
Donna Martin, president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the director of the School Nutrition Program for Georgia's Burke County Public School District, seeks to assure Secretary Sonny Perdue that kids in Georgia are indeed eating healthy and enjoying the healthy options required under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in this article for the Augusta Chronicle

"When Perdue specifically claimed kids won't eat whole grains, I had to wonder where he's getting his information. He's certainly not talking about the schools I've visited! At our school, participation spikes to 99 percent on cheese grits day. We serve affordable, whole-grain grits that our local farmers provide. Cheese grits day is the day here in Burke County.
Register Now at

Interested in Advocacy Training for your small group? Contact Mary Porter 
Articles and Links to More Resources

School Nutrition Association Names New President | schoolnutrition.org

Lynn Harvey Named 2017-2018 President of the School Nutrition Association

Your Back to School Briefing |
Action for Healthy Kids: GameOn Resources, Healthy Fundraising and more.

Team Nutrition Training Resources |
USDA: MyPlate curriculum, games and infographics for teachers.

Mental Health Time to Talk - A Guide for Parents and Other Adults |
Mental Health America: MHA's 2017 Back to School Toolkit aims to increase emotional intelligence and self-regulation through materials for parents, school personnel, and young people.

Lack of Sleep Tied to Higher Risk of Diabetes in Kids |

Are Fast Food Restaurants Keeping the Promises to Offer Healthier Kids' Meals? |
UConn Rudd Report

5 Ways Schools Can Boost the Local Food Economy |
Civil Eats

Panera Lists Beverage Calorie Counts on Cups |
Business Insider

Can "Sin Taxes" Solve America's Obesity Problem? |
C onsumer Reports

Trans Fats are Almost Out of Your Food: Here's What's Happening |


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Real Food for Kids is committed to collaborating with school communities to elevate the quality and character of school food; develop and deliver programs that advance literacy in nutrition and health; and engage students, parents and schools in building a culture of health that spreads to their homes and communities.