School Food Forum: Creating a Vision of
Fresh, Real Food in Montgomery County Public Schools
On November 2, 2013, RFKM, in partnership with Montgomery Victory Gardens, presented a forum on school food in Montgomery County. The event was very well-attended with over 150 participants, including many County Council Members, State Delegates and one State Senator, plus representatives from many other legislative offices.
The keynote speaker, Tony Geraci, made famous
in the documentary Cafeteria
Man, outlined the many ways in which he engages students in
developing food for the school cafeterias, from "no thank you
bites" to an agricultural apprenticeship program. A portion of the
produce in his Memphis cafeterias comes from farms that he and students
construct using hoop houses and imported organic compost. Geraci also
explained how he uses technology to save money and give parents control
over their children's purchases in the lunch room.
Other speakers addressed school gardens and agricultural education programs in MCPS, unsafe additives in food, and the causes of obesity and diabetes. Kathy Lawrence of School Food FOCUS addressed national efforts to change school food through procurement policy changes to promote farm-to-school and their efforts to add less-processed foods, including antibiotic-free chicken, to USDA commodity lists. Marla Caplon, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for MCPS, spoke on the past, present and future of MCPS food. County Councilmembers George Leventhal and Valerie Ervin also spoke about their efforts and aspirations on the topic of school nutrition. Lindsey Parsons, Co-Director of RFKM, delivered the final Call to Action to close out the forum.
Media coverage of the