Representatives from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will tour schools in the Syracuse City School District on Thursday, December 7th to gather information to tell of the need for funding for school nutrition program equipment and infrastructure improvements. The Academy supports grants for school food service equipment that exist in current funding bills and would like to see Congress do more in the future.
SCSD Director of Food and Nutrition Services Rachel Murphy, SCSD students and staff and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Donna S. Martin, the 2017-18 President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, will tour the kitchen at PSLA at Fowler High School (227 Magnolia Street) on Thursday, December 7th at 10 am. They will also speak about the need for increased funding for food service equipment.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) turned 71 years old in 2017, and many of the 95,000+ school kitchens that participate in the program are nearly as old. Old kitchen equipment hinders schools’ ability to adapt to the preferences and dietary needs of today’s students. The NSLP feeds more than 31 million children each school day, and in order for schools to have the ability to feed these children, they require optimally functioning kitchen equipment.
Since 2009 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided $160 million in kitchen equipment funding to states and schools who abide by the NSLP guidelines promotion nutritious meals with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. The USDA has provided grants for school food modernization equipment, which is under consideration for reauthorization by the U.S. Congress.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, supports reauthorization and full funding of this program in order to meet the following needs:
- 95% of schools in the U.S. are serving healthy lunches, but most could be more efficient and spend less money if they had updated equipment and infrastructure
- 88% of school districts need at least one piece of kitchen equipment
- 55% of schools need kitchen infrastructure changes, such as electrical upgrades