To make a change, you have to do some work. Are you willing to support better food choices for your children by working in their school’s kitchen? Partnered with local and nationally recognized Chef Cathal Armstrong, the parents of D.C.’s Tyler Elementary are doing just that.
The push for the D.C. public school system to engage in healthier lifestyles stems back to the First Lady’s obesity awareness program. White House chef and food advisory Sam Kass recruited local chefs and urged them to become involved with the Healthy Food Initiatives. Armstrong visited Tyler Elementary and was appalled with their food set-up. Tyler Elementary is a small school of 300, with 81% on the reduced or free meal program.
His outrage with the current foodservice led to the new program, Chefs as Parents. The non-profit strives to eliminate preservatives and chemicals in food while adding organic and sustainable choices. The parents involvement helps keep labor costs low while striving for an overall better lunch. Armstrong dreams of ‘made from scratch’ meals on real plates with cutlery. No more pre-packaged, re-heat and serve “meals” on Styrofoam trays.
In the proposals set for the D.C. public school’s meal makeover, each participating school will have a trained chef to head the kitchen. Health education will also be incorporated into the classroom.
To establish a kitchen ready for true cooked meals, not just defrosted meals, the kitchens needs reorganization and updated equipment. Tyler’s kitchen was doubling as a storage space before, but has since been opened up and filled with donated stoves, dishwashers and sinks. With these changes in the kitchen, changes in the food are sure to follow!