We spoke with Amanda Muniz, Food Service Director at the Chelsea Public Schools, a district with 6300 students and 7 dining areas, about how she’s putting local food on the menu in her cafeterias and promoting her excellent work around the district.
Chelsea Public Schools’ Food Service Director, Amanda Muniz uses a Farmlogix program to get lists of farms selling the local produce they use in their Harvest of the Month recipes. Farmlogix is a local farm to plate management firm that helps institutions source food from farmers to use in programs like the National School Lunch Program. Muniz has been very happy with her partnership with this firm their ability to aid her local procurement.
When asked about their promotional techniques, Muniz said, “Our promotional activities include social media outreach including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, the use of our TV monitors at the [high school] level, and parent newsletters [that] are posted to our school’s website and distributed to all service areas throughout the district. We recently were added to the Superintendent’s Updates which is an email blast sent to all families and faculty members of CPS. We add our HOTM recipes to our monthly menus [as well as] new and different recipes highlighting the fruit or veggie of that month. All marketing given to us from [Mass. Farm to School] is posted in all cafeterias district-wide as well.”
Advice & Challenges
Muniz’s advice for new Food Service Directors getting involved is making sure you get in touch with and collaborate with your principals. She says, “we honestly find that if we educate and communicate with principals it makes doing the tastings that much easier. I shared a basic background with each principal and I let them know when we are doing tastings. That way, they can let their staff know and make announcements in the morning. The students love it and they love that they are learning and get a sticker after they taste it. We tell them to be completely honest and they do give their opinions on whatever recipes we are sampling.”
Harvest of the Month Recipe Suggestions