On the morning of Tuesday, March 7, about 45 parents, staff, and faculty members gathered in the library on the Hillsborough campus to discuss nutrition and healthy eating options at Nueva.
The Nutrition Town Hall featured Curt Ellis (Co-Founder and CEO of FoodCorps), Michelle Sandberg (Head of Nueva’s Nutrition Task Force), Robert Donohoe (Flik Executive Chef), and Head of School Diane Rosenberg.
Reflecting on the event, Michelle Sandberg said, “The Nutrition Task Force was delighted with the level of participation and engagement at the town hall. Our aim was to give an update about the work of the task force to date, share our vision and goals going forward, and engage the community in a dialogue about wellness and health.”
Curt Ellis began the event by sharing his research related to the most effective practices schools can implement to impact eating behavior among students and promote a school-wide culture of health. Sandberg said, “Curt's talk was very instructive as we work towards our goal of providing a nutritious, delicious food program and fostering a healthy school environment for Nueva families and staff.”
Following Curt’s remarks, Diane Rosenberg took the opportunity to draw a connection between the development and evolution of the Nueva garden over the last twenty years and the vision laid out in the current strategic plan for an expanded working garden, bringing organic produce to the café and a deep and authentic connection to the natural world for our students and teachers across divisions.
Diane said that this effort is part of the work our community must do to combat what author Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods calls nature deficit disorder. She said, “As electronics are moving into students lives earlier and earlier, we also know that we need to get away from them and reconnect with our families and the natural world. While we have a small organic garden that is enjoyed and beloved by many of our lower school students, we strongly believe that the vision outlined in the strategic plan for the expanded garden and dedicated environmental center will help us maximize the potential of our beautiful wooded setting for students, preK–12.”
The parents attending the town hall had thoughtful, insightful questions related to food that were as varied as all of our relationships with food are. The questions put the audience and task force in the shoes of a second-grade student facing hot lunch service with a loose or recently lost tooth. Other questions addressed how the school promotes having a healthy relationship with food and whether we are sacrificing full nutrition for the perception of healthy eating.
“It was clear from the question and answer portion that the Nueva community cares deeply about health and wellness,” reflected Sandberg. “The wide range of questions from parents highlighted both the challenges and opportunities we have to meet the diverse needs of students of different ages. It was evident from the enthusiasm and participation of parents that the Nueva community understands the importance of nutritious food for growing bodies and minds, and shares the desire to be a leader in health and wellness.”
The task force announced that there are several new programs and initiatives related to improving lunch service at Nueva, including “Tasting Tuesdays” and an interactive feedback system that allows students and faculty to share their opinions with the Flik staff. Additionally, there will be a 50th anniversary cookbook celebrating favorite recipes from the community. Stay tuned for more information about healthy eating at Nueva!
March 17, 2017