2006 Golden Carrot Award Winners
Oak Grove School
Food Service Director: Irmgard James
All the food served at Oak Grove School is vegetarian. The menu is highly varied with a wide offering of international cuisine. Every day there is a salad bar with raw and steamed vegetables, such as artichokes, bok choy, parsnips, leeks, pumpkins, yams, and sweet potatoes. No dessert is offered; instead, fresh fruit platters are served daily. The fruit platters include a diverse array of fruit, such as oranges, apples, grapes, pineapples, berries, pummelos, kiwis, persimmons, berries, mango, and papayas. Soy milk, rice milk, water, iced tea, and hot herbal tea are available at no cost to students. Fried foods are rarely served. Most foods are made from scratch and the entire menu is sugar- and white-flour-free.
Healthy food is promoted through education about the whole food process from soil to table. Students work hard growing and harvesting produce in the school’s own organic garden and orchard, and they reap the benefits of that effort when that produce is served back to them in the cafeteria. When serving a new food, Ms. James displays the food in its uncooked state and then prepares the item in a few different ways for the students to try. The chefs at Oak Grove School truly are passionate about their jobs and committed to the goal of promoting maximum health.
Pinellas County School District
Food Service Director: Gray Miller
Pinellas County recently received an A- in PCRM’s annual School Lunch Report Card. The county has taken major strides toward health by serving more vegetarian meals and emphasizing fruits and vegetables for all students. At least one hot vegetarian meal (for example, black beans and rice, veggie burgers, or pasta with marinara sauce) and one cold vegetarian meal (for example, a farmer’s salad or peanut butter and jelly sandwich) is served daily. A packet that contains recipes for vegan entrées was recently distributed to all cafeteria managers so that if students request vegan entrées, the cafeteria managers know how to honor them. The managers also have the option of including these vegan items on the menu because they are healthy. Each day, fresh fruit, a hot vegetable, a side salad, and entrée salads are available as options. One-hundred percent juice is available at no cost, and soy milk is available a la carte for middle and high school students.
In elementary schools, the meatless option is always promoted as the “Hardy Heart” pick of the day. Health is promoted throughout the district by a series of monthly health tips that are distributed on menus, Web sites, cable TV stations, and on posters in cafeterias. Topics include eating high-fiber foods and “5-a-Day.”
Unity Charter School
Food Service Director: Judy Mancini
Unity Charter School is an all-vegetarian school. Most entrées, in addition to being vegetarian, are also vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Along with the entrée, a salad or raw vegetables is served. Freshly cut fruit salad is also served daily. Soy milk, rice milk, water, and organic juice are available at no extra cost. Unity does not participate in the government commodity food program and all recipes and snacks are prepared fresh daily, using organic and local ingredients when possible. Students are encouraged to eat as much fruit and salad as they desire, while entrées and desserts are limited. The school also offers a service through which families can purchase dinner-sized portions of the lunch menu to take home. Ms. Mancini has strived to make the menu more kid-friendly and allows students to taste anything they like, regardless of whether they buy lunch.
The mission of the charter school is sustainability. Students are taught to eat “low on the food chain” and to eat local to promote sustainability. Students also help plant and harvest vegetables in the garden on school grounds. These vegetables are harvested throughout the summer and frozen to be served back to the students the rest of the school year.
Laura Gilbert, M.S., R.D.Albuquerque Academy
Food Service Director: Laura Gilbert, M.S., R.D.
Each day, two different vegetarian entrées are offered. High-fiber, low-fat entrées such as veggie burgers, cheeseless veggie garden pizza, portabella fajitas, scrambled tofu, and hummus wraps are always on the menu. All vegetarian items are listed on the weekly menu and labeled as vegetarian or vegan for the students’ convenience. A variety of hot vegetables and soups are available daily. Fresh fruit and vegetables, including many seasonal items, are served on a salad bar daily.
Grady High School
Food Service Director: JoAnne DeShields
Grady High School offers a separate all-vegetarian lunch line that is enjoyed by vegetarian and non-vegetarian students alike. The “Creations Line” includes such healthy items as garden burgers, quesadillas with Mexican rice, and spaghetti with vegetarian sauce. Along with a daily mix of fresh fruit, salads, and side vegetables, each month different produce is featured to add variety and to expose students to different types of fruits and vegetables. All students have the choice of 100 percent fruit juices at no additional cost. Other healthy cooking methods include baking instead of frying, using herbs and spices to enhance flavor, and purchasing lower fat products such as veggie sausage patties and veggie burgers. Nutrition education is provided in a newsletter on the fronts of the menus.