Last week I met with Alva Spence, who runs the Food Services department for the Palo Alto school district. I asked her if she would participate in the celebration of Tasting Week and she gave me an enthusiastic yes! For every school participating in Tasting Week, Food Services will provide an A to Z salad bar as part of the hot lunch program. The salad bar includes a different food for every letter of the alphabet. What a great way to encourage children to try something new. The Executive Chef of Food Services will also come to the schools to give a live cooking demonstration in front of the kids during the lunch hour.
My discussion with Alva was very enlightening. Did you know that in many neighboring districts outside of Palo Alto, including Mountain View, every school has an actual kitchen where Food Services can prepare and heat food? Palo Alto does not have a single kitchen where food can be prepared on site. Did you know that Food Services launched an initiative with Revolution Food last year to provide one special menu every month but enrollment for hot lunch did not go up? Budget considerations aside, I think our parents need more education about what can be done with regards to lunch menus in the schools. Food Services is happy to partner with parents to find better solutions.
At one point during our conversation, Alva pointed to the brand new tennis courts across the street and said. “The Palo Alto parents paid for all these sport facilities. Where is my parent?” Giving good food to our kids is as important as building facilities to exercise in, don’t you think?