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PCRM’s 2012 Golden Carrot Award Winners for Healthiest School Lunches

An all-vegan menu, no red meat, and unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables are just a few of the innovations in food service found at the schools that won PCRM’s 2012 Golden Carrot Awards.

Jean Ronnei, nutrition services director at Saint Paul Public Schools, earned the grand prize for her creative food service program in Saint Paul, Minn. PCRM gave $3,000 to Ronnei and Saint Paul Public Schools to benefit the district’s popular food service program. Saint Paul’s no longer uses deep fryers and offers unlimited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy Hits, a cost-friendly program, ensures students receive delicious, nutrient-packed meals, including black bean and edamame salad, Moroccan rice, and whole-grain pasta with marinara sauce.

This year’s Golden Carrot runners-up are:

Ken Higgins, director of dining services at Chartwells, Spartanburg District Seven, Spartanburg, S.C., who received a $750 runner-up award to support a popular pilot program at James Boyd Elementary in Spartanburg, S.C. Student favorites include peanut butter banana dogs, vegetarian chili, and hummus with whole grain tortilla chips and fresh vegetables.

Miguel Villarreal, director of food and nutrition services at Novato Public School District, received a $750 runner-up award to benefit the district’s food service program in Novato, Calif. Mr. Villarreal eliminated red meat, soda, and most processed foods at the school several years ago.

Chef Barry and Jennifer Jones Horton, culinary teachers at Sand Path Academy in San Francisco, received a $750 runner-up award to benefit the charter school’s food service program. The all-vegan menu includes black bean and veggie wraps, spicy barbecue tofu with braised kale, and Ethiopian platters.

Honorable mentions went to Memphis City Schools in Memphis, Tenn., Greeneville County Schools in Greeneville, S.C., and District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C.

PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM looks for programs that encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and that offer vegetarian, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options.

To learn more about this year’s winners, visit


Golden Carrot winner Jean Ronnei

Golden Carrot Winner Jean Ronnei

To learn more about this year’s winners, visit

PCRM Online,
October 2012

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