Sacramento Bee: Will school lunchrooms be the next rock star venue for chefs?
- Melanie Wong Dec 18, 2013 06:20 PM
"Will the new, young, school food service directors become the rock stars of the 2020s, changing and leading the way we think about food? Why not? We’ve met some recently who have that effervescent star quality, that glitter in their eyes, that leads one to suspect they can accomplish just about anything they want to, and the main thing they want is to change the food that schoolchildren are offered and the way they are educated about it. How are the directors doing this? By increasing the freshness and flavors of the food they source and prepare. "
Let's hope this will be a new opportunity for young chefs to make a real impact. I attended a huge meeting (SRO) last spring of the New Mexico Ag Collaborative where we discussed the problems with distribution. If a local farming couple in southern New Mexico wants to sell their 3 acres of carrots to the local schools, it is almost impossible to wade through the bureaucracy and identify a distribution system from farm to school. The creation of food hubs is hopefully part of the solution. We have hundreds of young farmers here and very strong leadership from the Santa Fe Farmers Market, Delicious New Mexico and others who are working hard to solve this problem.
In this article, it sounds like the schools are fairly close to the growers, which is not the case here. New Mexico is a very rural state (2 million people in the 5th largest state in the country) so farms and commercial gardens are not usually in the population centers.
The government always wants the lowest, rock bottom price and sometimes it proves to be unprofitable for growers, but I hope this model works.