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May 2010

"Late Spring and Summer Fresh" Cooking Class at Student Nutrition Services: On May 5th Georgeanne Brennan gave her last cooking class of the school year to the staff of the DJUSD Student Nutrition Services. Highlighting late spring and early summer produce, she concentrated on Asian and Mediterranean Flavor Profiles. Two of the recipes shared at the class are below. Both debuted in school salad bars this spring.

Asian Cabbage and Nectarine Salad with Ginger: This gives a simple salad an Asian twist. You could also add chicken and crispy wontons or noodles for an entrée salad. For a spicier salad, use red Serrano instead of red bell pepper.

Davis Farm to School Awarded by the City of Davis: On May 11th, Davis Farm to School was awarded the City of Davis 2010 Environmental Recognition Award in the "Non-Profit" category. Over the past ten years, the Davis Farm to School Connection has greatly improved our children’s environmental quality of life through school lunch reform, gardens in every school, second grade Farm Visits and recycling. A typical school day may now include a morning bug hunt in the garden, salad bar for lunch, (separating recyclables and compostable food scraps and corn starch forks to reduce waste), and a fun-filled classroom presentation in the afternoon to prepare students for an upcoming Farm Visit. The daily routine of our students has been dramatically altered, and this routine has now become a way of life in our schools. The award nomination was accompanied by letters of support from the DJUSD Superintendent, UC Davis Children’s Garden Director, the former California Superintendent of Public Instruction, school board members, and school principals, teachers, and garden and recycle coordinators.

Davis School Lunch Program Recognized Nationally: At a reception May 20th hosted by Davis Farm to School and held at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary of USDA Food and Nutrition Service, addressed a crowd of 60 school food service directors, professionals, parents and students. She praised the Davis school lunch program for being ahead of the curve, working with the community and local business and providing the students with a healthy, local lunch. Dr. Thornton also spoke on the Obama Administration’s vision for an improved National School Lunch Program. The program is up for reauthorization in Congress now. Of the reauthorization, Thornton said, "The future of the country is at stake. Healthy kids today produce a healthier America tomorrow."

While in Davis, Thornton met with Raphaelita Curva, Director Student Nutrition Services for the Davis school district to learn more about the changes it’s making to school lunch, including its innovative cooking school for its employees. Thornton, a former Home Economics teacher and school food service director in Kentucky, told Curva, "I think in addition to changing the food, the thing you are doing that is so impressive is teaching the staff to cook whole grains and produce from scratch, to use spices and herbs which increase flavor and allows them to reduce salt and fat in the food, and introducing them to a seasonal approach to cooking. Until what they do is more than a job, it’s hard to make a difference. Clearly you are making a difference." Dr. Thornton said she considers the cafeteria an important learning lab at the school.

Tour de Cluck an "Eggcellent" Success! Tour de Cluck: A Bicycle Chicken Coop Crawl, took place on May 22nd throughout the backyards of Davis chicken-rearing residents. The event attracted over 500 visitors and was a benefit for Davis Farm to School, raising almost $15,000 through tickets sales and the popular chicken-themed Silent Auction. The tour Kick-Off Celebration began at Central Park on the steps of the Bicycling Hall of Fame. Local dignitaries, including several candidates for City Council, shared their best hen and rooster imitations during the Courage to Cluck contest. The crowd was then invited to visit the Fowl Food Fair, a collection of Davis Farmer’s Market vendors sampling and selling chicken and egg dishes all made with food sourced from the farmer’s market. Visitors were also enticed to bid on the plethora of chicken-themed items at the Silent Auction and Art Exhibit, including chicken mosaics, acrylic and clay artwork, a chicken coop and a custom Tour de Cluck bicycle! At 10 am, bikers pedaled from the park to one of several "coop loops" in Davis, encompassing 16 backyard chicken coops on display, complete with coop info and owners on hand to answer questions. Overall, the event was not only educational and inspiring, but tons of fun as well, and definitely bound to become an annual event here in Davis!

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