Editor's note: The following is a press release from .
With a brand new image and name, a new location, and plenty of great new plans, the department formerly known as Valley View Food Services is preparing to embark on Year Two of its own “New View.”
“Our goal is to expose our kids to everything from seed to harvest to the cafeteria and make all that an extension of the classroom,” said Meghan Gibbons, director of the district's Nutrition Services Department.
That exposure, Gibbons said, includes an even greater emphasis on what she terms “healthy changes” in the menus at all grade levels as well as expansion of recycling efforts and the school garden pilot project and continued efforts to incorporate nutrition awareness into the curriculum.
To emphasize this year’s efforts, the Nutrition Services school teams will wear new uniforms including orange shirts and navy aprons with the new logo embroidered on them. That newly designed logo will be seen everywhere.
“We want to generate a sharper image,” said Gibbons, whose district staff will move from the Administration Center to in the fall.
“Thanks to modern technology, we can oversee things from literally anywhere,” she said. “Bolingbrook High School is our highest volume line. It is the best equipped by far. And anytime we want to sample a product, we have our focus group right there.”
Gibbons, who joined the VVSD staff a year ago after supervising food service operations at Evanston Township High School, got the ball rolling toward the image change almost as soon as she arrived in VVSD.
Under her watch, the district immediately increased the number of whole grain and colored vegetable offerings on menus at all grade levels. The size and volume of fresh fruit servings was increased. Two percent milk was eliminated. High school deep fat fryers were removed.
Jane Addams middle school piloted a school garden, helping to provide some of that school’s fruit and a vegetable needs while serving as a real-life example for students in their science curriculum.
Elementary schools launched a recycling program through which over 20,000 trays were diverted from the landfill and recycled each week at the Dart plant in North Aurora.
This year, the big emphasis is on conforming with new United States Department of Agriculture Meal Pattern Guidelines (the first such guidelines in 30 years) handed down to schools across the country just a few months ago.
For the most part, VVSD is already way ahead of the curve thanks to the Nutrition Services Department’s foresightedness in the past few years. But students can still expect some menu changes designed to reach the age appropriate daily caloric limits set by the USDA.
That means significantly more whole grains, larger servings and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, foods with less sodium and nothing but fat free milk, among other things.
“We want to show our customers (students and parents) that this isn’t just school food,” Gibbons said. “This will be high quality food at a good price.”