Understand the system
Each school food service has a slightly different organizational structure and regulations. To collaborate effectively, you must understand your local system and key players as well as school lunch federal regulations.
Eat with your kid(s)
You may be pleasantly surprised! Or at the very least, you will have a better understanding of the eating and nutrition goals you should set for your child(ren). Review your child(ren)’s school menus regularly. Menus served in WITS schools can be found here.
Join or form a Wellness Committee and create a Wellness Policy
It takes active participation from your school staff and administration, parents, and school food service staff to form an excellent lunch program. Start with your principal, who can serve as a liaison. Form a Wellness Committee to gather stakeholders and determine a Wellness Policy and collective goals. Goals may include serving a salad bar, eliminating chocolate milk, requesting a water jet, offering a salad bar, preparing tastings, and/or creating a school garden.
Learn about national programs
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
Encourage your School Food Manager to apply for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). FFVP is a state/city-sponsored program that provides funding for fresh fruit and vegetable snacks in low-income elementary schools. The snacks must be whole foods or minimally processed and served as an additional snack, not as part of lunch. Although not all schools can be accommodated, applying sends the message that you want fresh produce at your school.
Start a Farm to School Program
Opportunities to connect schools with farms and farm fresh produce are growing thanks to wonderful initiatives from the USDA, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, and individual school districts or states. Although there can be many challenges to sourcing directly from a local farm, there are a number of ways you can connect your school. We suggest getting others involved, starting small, redefining ‘local’, befriending a farmer, asking for help, and making it a Wellness Policy.