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I recently toured the Hanna High School cafeteria and was pleasantly impressed with the improvements Prada Crossbody Bag Nylon I saw. There were rows of fresh spinach salads, baked sweet potato "fries", wheat bread chicken sandwiches.

"This would save us money and give us some local control of these two costly products we ship in from across the country. It would also be a great way to involve students Prada Glasses For Mens

"We need to help support the growth of small farms in our area that could generate much needed income for families and provide fresh fruits and vegetables for thousands of school kids in our region."

"I think I understand all of the constraints and complexities of this kind of huge food delivery operation, yet I am trying to make changes that will ultimately improve the health and well being of our kids, and makes them better students."

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Multiple studies have linked this practice to fueling the obesity epidemic since these low cost crops go into cheaper processed and packaged foods, and discourage local, sustainable, biodiverse practices to produce fresh produce. As farms have consolidated so has the food processing industry which means most of what we eat is controlled by a few corporations. Our produce is shipped from across the country and world even though we live in area of rich agricultural potential and an almost year round growing season. The promotion of milk in schools is an example of a shameless advertising campaign subsidized by the dairy industry started Prada Bags Navy Blue

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Silverio Capistran, Child Nutrition Director for BISD is working hard to creatively address the fact that many kids don't choose the healthiest options, or if forced to take the fruits and vegetables have a tendency to toss them in the garbage.

"I put out some water infused with cucumber and herbs, lemon and other fruit (no sugar) in a nice glass dispenser and on the first day we had to refill the container many times over. We also put a plain water (cold) container and that Prada Bags Nylon Sale

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This is no small task when you are serving 50 million meals a year. Capistran is relatively new to the position, but not to school food service. He worked his way up from cafeteria maintenance worker, to kitchen manager, went to college and graduate school and combined his years of experience and education to become the leader at the helm of a huge operation with 550 employees.

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I admit I've been a critic of school lunches. I had the privilege of seeing a school lunchroom at a large public school in France and was blown away by the locally grown, fresh cuisine served to school children, who then grow up with great taste for healthy, fresh food. The French school lunch I saw featured beet salad, green beans that looked like they had been plucked from grandma's garden minutes before, fresh fruit, baked rosemary chicken, red potatoes, fresh baked multi grain bread with camembert cheese and a glass of water. The kids ate slowly and savored each bite. Plates were eaten clean and children sent out to play for recess.

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"Our kids are not always accustomed to eating the veggies at home and so we have to present them in a way that is appealing but still falls within the budget and dietary guidelines."

back when there was a dairy surplus.

This inexpensive option could have a huge impact as kids opt to drink water instead of flavored milk. It saves calories while improving hydration not to mention reducing cost. Adan is an energetic young man who has a lot of ideas to bring to the district from his training as a chef.

While the large food systems that drive the obesity epidemic are daunting, locally driven efforts to think out of the box and gain control of what we eat and serve our kids are the real hope for our future, because Tu Salud Si Cuenta! (Your Health Matters!).

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Capistran tries to purchase from local farmers, but says it is hard for the small farmers to meet the demand of such a huge operation.

Despite the fact that 25% of Americans are lactose intolerant, and that research has proven that milk is not the best source of calcium (cultures that drink cow's milk actually have higher rates of osteoporosis, dairy marketing in schools coupled with national media campaigns have hooked us all on this myth that we need milk, which only helps to fuel obesity along with sodas and sugary beverages.

was gone too. Hundreds of kids actually drank water for lunch, which is not the norm here. We will definitely roll this out in the other schools starting this fall."

A smaller initiative with a potentially huge impact is being piloted at Pace High School with great results. Adan Cortez, a chef and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin is the manager of the cafeteria. His idea to offer fruit infused water to kids as an alternative to milk and to increase water consumption has taken off like gangbusters.

Capistran dreams of a BISD hoop house (very affordable greenhouse) where staff and students could grow all the spinach and tomatoes for the district.

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Local initiatives and leaders provide hope for child nutrition

This shift to packaging and processing over the last 50 years has pushed us further away from the source of our food to a system which subsidizes and incentivizes large industrial farmers to mono crop (grow only one thing usually corn, soy and grains) and factory farm for animal products.

A lot of these initiatives are still in the works, but Capistran is not one to sit on ideas long. When presented with evidence about how salad bars in school cafeterias increase vegetable consumption among youth, he immediately identified a school to pilot the salad bar and sent staff to visit a nearby district that has already implemented this practice. Plans are to install the salad bar for this coming school year.

in that process of growing food, and teach them marketing skills."

If the reality of our food system is daunting to me as a parent providing a couple of meals a day to my 3 children, imagine the task of a school district child nutrition program like that of the Brownsville Independent School District which serves almost 50,000 students two meals a day. Folks can argue about whether all kids should eat school provided meals, but we know that in our community, many families struggle to put enough food on the table, and school districts work hard to fill food insecurity gaps and comply with newer healthy school lunch guidelines.

"I want kids to be able to try and enjoy new and healthy foods. I want us to move away from prepackaged foods and actually make the food from scratch to improve taste and reduce waste."

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Instead of maintaining the status quo, Capistran and his leadership team are collaborating with local non profits and the UT School of Public Health to seek funding for innovations, and saying "yes" to piloting and implementing new approaches to reducing waste and increasing student's connection to healthy, locally grown food.

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