Inside School Food-logo

Inside School Food

5 Favorites

More Information


United States


Mondays at 11:00AM EST Press coverage of news in school food tends to be superficial, with emphasis on what’s negative and sensational. School food professionals and other insiders know different, and here they get their chance to dig deeper and talk shop about the issues that loom largest and the solutions that work best. Each week, guests from across the nation explore a different topic from a selection that addresses a spectrum of concerns around coping with regulation, meeting sustainability goals, and creating kid-friendly menus that are fresh, healthy, delicious, and affordable. Have a subject to suggest? Let us know. If you’re inside school food, this is your conversation. Laura Stanley knows first hand how effective the food service industry can be in catalyzing reforms that are good for people and the environment. For twenty years, her work as a journalist and project manager has supported pioneers across the restaurant and institutional food supply chain who are demonstrating how a healthy, sustainable, just and humane food system can be possible and profitable.




Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School

What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the...

Duration: 00:32:39

Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks

What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be...

Duration: 00:34:39

Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile

On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother,...

Duration: 00:24:41

Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?

In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants,...

Duration: 00:44:42

Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained

Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look...

Duration: 00:51:12

Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast

From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents. In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning,...

Duration: 00:31:01

Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts

Food courts at school are an increasingly popular way to win the participation of trend-savvy teenagers. If you’re flirting with the idea for any of your sites, give a close listen to today’s guests. They’re equally prepared to either talk you into or out of the immense investment involved in embracing this style of food service. Because it doesn’t involve just money, but also—and more significantly—a commitment to sea change in the entire school community’s attitude towards lunch. Not ready...

Duration: 00:39:29

Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success

We've all heard that too many cooks can spoil the broth, but that's hardly the case on today's episode. The new FRESHMeals collection of recipes for schools is the work of several dozen cooks from 18 "California Ambassador" districts, pledged to mentor and share best practices state-wide. It took more than two years of tightly coordinated trial-and-error to build a database of 140 (so far) dishes that are off-the-shelf school ready—fully vetted for practicability, affordability, customer...

Duration: 00:34:08

Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back

Ten days ago, POLITICO's Helena Bottemiller Evich reported the latest development in the long and difficult path to CNR 2015 (now CNR 2016, as it is more than six months overdue). "The House Education and the Workforce Committee has finally come up with a child nutrition reauthorization bill," she wrote, "and it looks like it could be everything health advocates feared." Indeed, there appear to be critical, troubling differences between this bill and the one released by the Senate's...

Duration: 00:35:48

Episode 63: Intact Grains 101

When did school children start gobbling up quinoa with such pleasure? And how is it that they’re also reaching for...

Duration: 00:35:55

Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA

Today we re-visit a June 2014 episode with the salad bar gurus at Riverside Unified School District, in southern California....

Duration: 00:35:49

Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers

As we await resolution on CNR 2016, one thing is certain: there will be new technical assistance grants for districts...

Duration: 00:39:19

Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes

For the first time in the history of the USDA school meals programs, success in feeding kids (adolescents especially) is...

Duration: 00:38:17

Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan

Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness,...

Duration: 00:45:57

Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers

As the year draws to a close, Dora Rivas joins us to look back and reflect—not just on 2015, but...

Duration: 00:52:48

Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed

For processors of foods for the K-12 market, new USDA nutrition requirements arrived at the same time as increased public...

Duration: 00:53:27

Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared

Today we venture into new territory with the help of Chef Lisa Feldman, who is Director of Culinary Services for...

Duration: 00:39:53

Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All

New Jersey is called the “Garden State” out of pride in an agricultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years....

Duration: 00:48:23

Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge

High school cooking competitions can be hugely effective in generating excitement around school food, especially during Farm to School season,...

Duration: 00:39:47

Episode 53: A Taste of Hope

For tribal communities across the Great Plains and Southwest, buffalo is the centerpiece of of traditional culture, a sacred food...

Duration: 00:41:16

See More