Individual perceptions of the current state of school meals may vary, but there is a common goal that is shared among all voices in the school nutrition debate, and it’s one that mirrors the vision of the School Nutrition Association (SNA): “Healthful meals and nutrition education are available to all children.”
School nutrition professionals. Parents. Health advocates. Teachers. Government decision-makers. Farmers. Nutritionists. School administrators. We all agree that school meals should be nutritious—to help children grow; to allow them to achieve in school and life; to assist them in adopting positive, lifelong dietary habits; and to maintain healthy weights. We also recognize that, if children are going to benefit from nutritious school meals, school foods must be appealing—in taste and appearance—in order to entice students to actually consume them.
But it is in identifying the strategies, tactics and priorities for realizing that shared goal that our voices can digress and divide. Nonetheless, overall success ultimately will hinge on all stakeholders leveraging their disparate positions and powers together in the development of a united front.
This is a key reason why the Steering Committee for SNA’s 2010 Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) is pleased to announce that Chef Ann Cooper has accepted an invitation to participate in this year’s meeting as a speaker and a panelist.
While Cooper, who has positioned herself as a “Renegade Lunch Lady,” has been a polarizing figure in public discourse about school meals, SNA leadership is enthusiastic about this unique opportunity to establish a dialogue about differing perspectives for reaching shared goals and to plant the seeds for future partnerships.
Cooper will speak about the “Lunch Box: Healthy Tools to Help All Schools” initiative she developed with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She also will participate on a panel with other school nutrition directors who have developed and implemented progressive changes. The session, moderated by Patricia Fitzgerald, editor of SNA’s flagship magazine, School Nutrition, will include a question-answer opportunity with attendees.
The significance of the invitation by SNA to Cooper—and her acceptance—already has drawn the attention of SNA’s members, as well as that of the vast school nutrition stakeholder community, as evidenced by an August article in The New York Times, in which the pairing is described as “stars aligning.” The article went further to describe Cooper and the SNA community as “once warring camps,” that have now come together for the greater good.
To read The New York Times article, click here “Stars Aligning on School Nutrition,”
For registration and other information about SNA’s 2010 Child Nutrition Industry Conference, click here http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Level2_CNIC2010.aspx?id=12728.
Are you looking forward to hearing Ann Cooper at CNIC 2010? Why or why not? Have you forged successful partnerships with others in your community who had diverging viewpoints? Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Comments” link below. (Must be logged in to comment)
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