The Lunch Box Blog

Welcome to our Blog! This is the place to keep up on The LunchBox team's thoughts on school food and the latest school food news.

From the Blog

We're Hiring!

May 13, 2014


Interested in joining the Lunchbox Team?

We are hiring an Administrative and Marketing Support team member.

We are looking for a motivated candidate with a strong marketing and communication background preferably in the fields of school food, childhood nutrition, and nutrition education.

If you are in the Boulder, CO area be sure to check out the information below!


Our Mission

To support schools in creating healthier school food programming.

Our Story

The Food Family Farming Foundation (F3) was founded in 2009 by Ann Cooper, an internationally recognized author, chef, educator, public speaker, and advocate of healthy food for all children.

Chef Ann’s vision was to create an organization that helps schools take action so that every child has daily access to fresh, healthy food. Today, F3 carries out that vision by actively supporting school districts nationwide through grant programs and by providing tried and tested tools for school food change.

Job Title: Administrative and Marketing Support

Job Description:

This position will begin immediately. It will begin as a 20-hour/week position through the summer...


State of the School Lunch

February 03, 2014

By Michele Battiste

This regular column – inspired by Chef Ann Cooper’s “State of School Lunch” address – will explore current issues, legislation, and advocacy impacting school lunch.

We’ve all heard the statistics. Over one-third of children in this country are overweight or obese, which will lead to health problems with long-term consequences: shorter life expectancies, decreased productivity, and a massive strain on our already troubled health care system.

For many kids, it isn’t about overeating; it’s about eating the wrong kinds of food. These days, malnourished children are more likely to be overweight because they aren’t getting enough of the right kinds of food to eat.

In 2010, President Obama recognized the food and health crisis facing our nation’s children and signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law, creating new nutrition standards for school food and childhood nutrition programs. Focusing on school food change is important because of the depth and breadth of the impact it can have on children’s health. Not only are our children eating over 40 million meals a day at school, children who eat breakfast and lunch at school are consuming more than 50% of their daily calories there, and that’s not counting snacks or food from vending...


Food Education for the New Year!

January 31, 2014

By Elyse Wood

  1.  Have you never sourced local food in your district, or just need a tip or two? Finding, Buying and Serving Local Foods, a monthly webinar series from USDA Farm to School, will get you up to speed. All presentations will be archived for later viewing. Catch it live to pose your own questions. These are also open to the public, so get informed!
  2. If you’re like us and believe we need to change our food culture, don’t miss TEDxManhattan 2014! Hold a viewing party, and get these important conversations started where you live.
  3. Become a FoodCorps member! Applications are open from now until March 30th. Be the next wave food education! 
  4. USDA proposes professional standards in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. As of now the proposal would:
  • Create minimum hiring...

Soda Tax Myths: Are Beverage Companies Friends to the Poor?

January 14, 2014

Soda Tax Myths: Are Beverage Companies Friends to the Poor?

Reposted with permission by: Dana Woldow

In early February, four members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors expect to introduce legislation for the November ballot to levy a 2 cents per ounce tax on distributors of soda and other sugary soft drinks. The money raised would help support healthy food, nutrition education, and physical activity in schools and communities throughout the city. Given the American Beverage Association's (ABA) history...


It's Time for SFUSD to Stop Selling Sugar to Students

November 18, 2013

It's Time for SFUSD to Stop Selling Sugar to Students

Reposted with permission by: Dana Woldow

Last week's column addressed concerns with SFUSD's Student Nutrition Services (SNS) neglecting current operations in favor of an...


Correction to Chef Ann's US News & World Report Blog Post

November 14, 2013
Chef Ann's correction to her most recent US News blog post:

"In my article “The Trans Fats Ban: Will it Protect Children, Too?” posted on U.S. News & World Report’s “Eat + Run” blog on November 8, 2013 (and reposted online on November 12, 2013 by the Daily News in their “Living” section), I inaccurately stated that the FDA’s ban on trans fats would not apply to food served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. In fact, the ban would apply to all food served in the U.S., including food served in schools.

I apologize for the inaccuracy, and I applaud the FDA for banning all trans fats in food. That is the real story here. Eliminating trans fats from our diet is a big step forward for the health of all Americans, especially children."



The SNAP Challenge: Why Kids Need School Lunch

October 02, 2013

By Elyse Wood

What does hungry really feel like? Is it skipping breakfast because you’re running late to work? Or choosing a frozen burrito once in a while for dinner because you don’t get paid for another day? A slight gurgle of the tummy indicates hunger for some. For others – those who must cope with food insecurity on a day-to-day basis – hunger takes on a deeper role, a state of mind even. Add to the equation being a child with no control of your access to food, and the situation can be dire.

I cannot claim to know true food desperation. For me, hunger is not permanent. If I hit a rough patch, I get by knowing I will likely return to my normal routine.  This is a life of some small privilege in which too many people do not find comfort. The odds are still in my favor as I commit to live a week in the life of someone on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. I can opt out whenever I want. Through this chosen experience, my circumstances still don’t lend to full understanding.

What’s the ...


Improved Schools Kitchens for Improved School Food

September 04, 2013

By Beth Collins, F3 Board Member

As Labor Day weekend recedes, many school districts have been open for a month or more, and 2013-14 continues to serve up challenges for food service directors.  Last year’s efforts to comply with new USDA guidelines highlight an increased need for equipment and infrastructure updates.

The changes in USDA standards profoundly impacted food service teams who have been tapped to simultaneously teach students about the important role that vegetables and fruits play in nutrition and to please them with delicious meals. This year, schools are charged with serving healthier snacks, and districts are also evaluating how to serve a required fruit and vegetable component at breakfast for 2014-15. To increase a district’s capacity to prepare more fresh foods, three major needs must be addressed:

1.      equipment to store, cook, transport and serve a variety of foods,

2.      the infrastructure to support the equipment, and

3.      staff training to implement new menus

In addition to necessary “behind the line” equipment improvements, “cafetoriums...


The Golden Age of School Food in SF

June 24, 2013

The Golden Age of School Food in SF

Reposted with permission by: Dana Woldow

In the future, we may look back at 2013 as the year the San Francisco Unified School District finally got everything right on school food. The contract with Oakland based healthy meal provider Revolution Foods, which began in January and runs through the 2013-14 school year, brought delicious meals to all 114 cafeterias, and increased the number of students choosing school lunch by 11%. Changes...


Bringing It Back: Full-functioning kitchens in schools

June 17, 2013

As recently as the late 70s, school cafeterias functioned like real kitchens cooking real food.  Lunch ladies knew how to prepare food from scratch, and lunch was a true break in the school day. Fast forward to today and it’s a whole different story. Ovens stripped from cafeterias and replaced with fryers, microwaves and warmers. Processed food shipped in and served out. The lunch “hour” focused on speed and order. Kids often have less than 20 minutes to eat.

According to the USDA, over 31 million children eat school lunch each day, and over 12 million eat school breakfast. Are we doing all we can as a country to ensure a healthy meal for our kids? If the dismal state of our school kitchens sets the standard, then the answer is no.

House representatives Tom Latham of Iowa and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina agree. They are continuing to push the School Food Modernization Act, originally introduced to Congress in September of 2012. If passed, the bill would set aside money to pay for school kitchen upgrades. Funds for this type of school kitchen improvement have not been federally allocated for over 30 years.

As the bill moves forward, it is now time to create a game plan for your school cafeteria. Take stock of your facility needs as you progress toward the scratch-cooking model that the new USDA standards encourage. What should...