SFSP_ChickenSandwichMeal2

As the school year wraps up, BPS Food and Nutrition Services Department is preparing to sponsor the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in over 100 open sites across the city. These SFSP open sites provide FREE breakfast and lunch to all children and youth, 18 years of age and under.  No registration or IDs necessary.

SFSP open sites will run from July 1-August 28, 2015.* For an updated list of open sites and service times, click here to visit the “Summer Food Service Program 2015” page on this blog. Or call the Project Bread Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 for more information.

Also summer menus are now available! Click here, to see the SFSP Menus for July-August 2015.

Have a great summer! Hope you will come on down to an open site near you to enjoy healthy, tasty meals this summer!

 

 

*Select sites will be open through September 4, 2015.  These sites will be highlighted on the “Summer Food Service Program 2015” page on this blog later this summer.

SFSP2013_ShelburneBBQ4

That’s right!  School is out, and summer programs across the city of Boston start today.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals for ALL children 18 years of age and under, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. This year, SFSP will run from  June 30,  2014 through August 29, 2014.   SFSP is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education and sponsored by USDA, Project Bread and the Boston Public Schools, Department of Food and Nutrition Services.

For a print-friendly list of open sites, click here to download a PDF. Or check out this map to find a location nearest to you!

For additional information about these open sites, please call Project Bread’s Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

Have a great summer!

SFSP2013_ShelburneBBQ4

Yesterday, July 10, 2013, BPS Food and Nutrition Services hosted the annual Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Kick-Off BBQ at the Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury.  Special guest speakers included Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA, James Arena-DeRosa, Northeast Regional Administrator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services, Robert Leshin, Assistant Director of MA Department of Early and Secondary Education, and our very own Michael Peck, Director of BPS Food and Nutrition Services Department.*

SFSP2013_collage

Our speakers reminded students about the importance of the SFSP, particularly in Boston where there are more summer food service sites than there are schools in the Boston Public Schools.  This year MA has over 830 SFSP sites across the state, and 150 of those sites are located in Boston.

SFSP2013_OpenSite_MapThe SFSP offers free meals for children 18 years of age and under, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. This year the program will run from July 1, 2013 through August 30, 2013. Click here to see an interactive map of all of our open sites or check out the SFSP information page for more details.

Over 120 youth came through the barbeque line yesterday and enjoyed a delicious lunch of hot dogs, grilled chicken, coleslaw, watermelon and milk. Also special thanks to our partners at Fuel Up to Play 60, Project Bread and the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness who brought all sorts of fun games and giveaways for the kids.

SFSP2013_Partners

Don’t miss out on breakfast or lunch just because school is out this summer!  Come eat at an SFSP site near you this summer!

*Mayor Thomas M. Menino was also scheduled to speak, but was unable to attend.

May 30, 2012, Roxbury, MA – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Boston to celebrate the first anniversary of the MyPlate food icon and to announce a month of nutrition events and promotions to mark the occasion. Merrigan joined local officials, staff, and students at Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury for lunch and a tour of the school’s gardens.  Dearborn Middle School is putting the MyPlate message into action by promoting healthy food choices and healthier lifestyles. The Dearborn Middle School is using the produce they grow and sourcing locally to provide healthy options on the lunch tray.

“It was an exciting opportunity to be asked by USDA to be the host site for the MyPlate anniversary,” said Dearborn Middle School Principal Jose Duarte. “As a turn-around school, it’s important to celebrate and work on the whole child. Academic achievement is fueled by providing good nutrition to our students. It’s impactful to see our students understand the role a healthy diet plays on their performance both in and out of the classroom.”

Sadie Richards, who works with the Department of Food & Nutrition Services as a Food Corps Service Member, has been working with students at the Dearborn School since September, 2011.  Sadie teaches a gardening activity block twice a week, during which students have an opportunity to plant, water, weed, and compost, as well as learn about food systems and sustainability.  “The school garden is a gateway to experiential learning, healthy eating and sustainable living,” said Richards. “Students come alive as they emerge from the school building into the cultivated urban ecosystem, where they learn and teach their peers to grow and appreciate a variety of fruits and vegetables, many of which they have never seen growing or ventured to eat before.”  Read more about Sadie’s work HERE.

As part of Secretary Merrigan’s visit, Boston Neighborhood Network generously produced a short video spotlighting the Dearborn School Garden, titled “Students Garden for Learning and Health:”

School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced.  Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and a growing number of sponsors, individuals, and private funders, FOCUS aims to transform food systems to support students’ academic achievement and lifelong health, while directly benefiting farmers, regional economies, and the environment.  Boston Public Schools has been a participating district since School Food FOCUS was founded.

The national gathering, held in Chicago May 3rd to 5th, brought together school food service professionals, community partners already working with districts, and government officials from the USDA and CDC.  The gathering is an opportunity for casual conversations and more formal networking with peers working in districts across the country as well as government officials.  This year, three members of the BPS Food & Nutrition Services department – Michael Peck, Director of FNS; Kim Szeto, Farm to School Coordinator; and Alexandra Emmott, Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program Manager – attended.

A Few Highlights from the Conference:

  • A tour of Chicago Public Schools with a focus on their new procurement process for Miller Antibiotic Free Chicken.
  • Keynote address by Dan Carmody, President of Detroit Eastern Market.  Dan’s background is in urban planning and his address explored the links between economics, the environment, and equity.
  • School Food Showcase featuring vetted, affordable, healthy products for schools.  Asian food Solutions and Jennie-O, two vendors already used by BPS, were featured.
  • Meeting Chicago Public Schools students who won the Cooking Up Change competition with their recipes oven fried chicken, sweet potato & bean salad, and sautéed cabbage and collard greens.  (Delicious! & we have the recipes.)
  • Meeting Debra Kane, National Director for the USDA Farm to School Program, formerly a community partner for Portland Public Schools working at Eco Trust in Oregon.  Debra wrote the RFP for the new federally funded Farm to School grants for which BPS will be applying this spring.
  • And, last but not least, this amazing school food anthem, written and performed by Melissa Honeywood, new Director of FNS for Cambridge Public Schools.  Check it out here:

Photo of BPS' Orchard Gardens Cafeteria featured in Saturday's New York Times

Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB or “Pink Slime”) continues to capture media and public attention.  The New York Times ran an article in Saturday’s paper about responses to the issue from school districts and universities across the country.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which provides beef to school districts, revealed recently that some of this product contains LFTB.  Boston is the first district nation wide to take a strong position on the issue.  Under the direction of Michael Peck, new Director of Food & Nutrition Services, all USDA beef products have temporarily been stricken from cafeteria menus, awaiting information on product contents and sourcing from the USDA.

Mr. Peck is quoted in Saturday’s New York Times questioning the use of ammonia hydroxide gas in beef products containing LFTB: “It’s another example of the alteration of our food supply.  Have we created another unknown safety risk?”  Read the entire article HERE.

Effective last Wednesday, all USDA products made with ground beef – including hamburgers, tacos, and Salisbury steak – have temporarily been stricken from BPS menus.  In total, BPS has set aside about 62,000 pounds of USDA ground beef products,  awaiting information from the Federal Government as to whether these products containing Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB or “Pink Slime.”)  Any products found to contain LFTB will be discarded or donated, while LFTB free products will be returned to cafeterias for use.  Tracing and identifying meat containing LFTB is complicated because the Federal Government does not require any labelling indicating LFTB presence. 

New Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Michael Peck, was quoted in Friday’s Boston Globe questioning USDA food standards:  “It’s yet another form of the adulteration of food products in our food supply.  I am sure that it is considered generally safe, but I think we need to hold the USDA to a higher standard than ‘generally safe’ when, in fact, this product has been eliminated from many retail segments . . . because they felt it didn’t meet a high enough standard.’’

The USDA announced this week, amidst media attention and public criticism of “pink slime,” that next year, school districts across the coutnry will be able to choose beef products which do not contain LFTB.  That said, the USDA maintains all products purchased for the school lunch program that are safe, nutritious, and affordable, including  products containing LFTB.

Click HERE to read the entire Boston Globe story on this subject.