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Lots of insights gained at Umana BOSFoodLove coalition meeting

December 21, 2018

Food Initiatives

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Food Access

On November 29, teachers, family members, and lunch monitors from Otis Elementary and the Mario Umana Academy gathered in the Umana auditorium to discuss the topic of the night: school food.

It was the second BOSFoodLove coalition meeting and the group spent the evening brainstorming ways to make school food more aligned with the preferences of parents and students. By the end of the night, several shared concerns had been identified.

Staff members who spent their days in the cafeteria were concerned about the waste produced at the end of every lunch period: Could anything be done with leftover food? A student described some communication barriers between staff and students, prompting the group to wonder how cafeteria staff could better navigate these communications challenges. Other ideas included more variety in school meals to keep things exciting, and creating better channels for communication to parents and guardians about school meals.

Several attendees expressed gratitude for some exciting changes that had already occurred, like a new salad bar at both the Otis and the Umana.  As the meeting drew to a close, the group was asked to reflect and share one of their hopes for the future of school food in Boston.

As a FoodCorps service member at the Umana Academy, I spend several hours a week teaching lessons about healthy food and spending time with students in the cafeteria. It was touching to see members of my school community voice their commitment to creating the best possible cafeteria environment for the students. I’m looking forward to the next BOSFoodLove meeting at the Umana on December 17 in the auditorium, and I’m excited to hear from a wide range of staff, student and family voices. We all care about the health of students in our community, and we will keep striving to provide them with the best foundation for success.

This post was written by Annemarie Noll, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member at the Mario Umana Academy K-8 School.