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Meals for thought: New group hopes to ship diet to Nevada County college students

The purpose is to feed hundreds of scholars with domestically sourced meals.

Brett McFadden, superintendent of the Nevada Joint Unified Excessive Faculty District, together with the nonprofit group Sierra Harvest, have created a Joint Powers Authority. The unprecedented collaboration is meant to supply nutritious meals to youngsters within the faculty district.

“All we did was principally kind the shell of a governance construction for this potential thought,” McFadden stated. “There’s nonetheless loads to do to see if this concept may be realized, however we needed to ascertain a proper entity in order that we may be eligible to obtain state and federal grant funds, and set up a construction by which we are able to begin an in-depth evaluation in planning for this risk.”

Sierra Harvest CEO Aimee Retzler stated she has been laying the groundwork for years. Retzler accomplished the meals evaluation for western Nevada County in November and accomplished a feasibility examine in January.

Retzler stated that Sierra Harvest has been working a farm-to-school program for about 13 years with the assistance of the Chef Ann Basis. The thought is that the profitable formation of an area authority might result in a pilot program that might be utilized by colleges in rural areas throughout the nation.

As soon as the authority is shaped, Retzler stated it is going to begin addressing amenities, funds, new hires and meals.

If funding is secured, McFadden stated the authority wouldn’t be up and working for one more two years.

Retzler stated the analysis carried out earlier this yr revealed that with out the formation of a diet companies authority, it might not be potential to fulfill the diet wants of scholars with native choices.

“Meals must be centrally ready and delivered chilly by way of refrigerated truck the day earlier than service in a bulk format to complete on website and bulk service,” Retzler stated, including that they would wish a brand new monetary commonplace and process. utilizing the most recent meals service. expertise. Retzler stated the mission would require hiring an govt director dedicated to dwelling cooking, in addition to an govt chef to assist create standardized recipes, cycle menus and add a salad bar at every campus.

McFadden stated he and Retzler have written to the state and are ready for a response for ultimate approval, however he does not see why they would not be authorized.


Faculty districts pooled their assets to create the Nevada County Faculty Transportation Company, McFadden stated.

Stakeholders from Grass Valley, Penn Valley, Nice Ridge, and Nevada Metropolis colleges have collectively shaped an authority to supply transportation companies to college students.

“By doing that, you’ll be able to consolidate assets and economies of scale so you’ll be able to have a extra environment friendly allocation of these companies or set of assets,” McFadden stated. “We’re all too small districts to function our personal transportation departments.”

By becoming a member of forces to contract for a single service required at a number of places on this county (transportation, for instance, supplied by Durham Faculty Providers), McFadden stated they save directors time, vitality and cash.

“It is a nationwide firm — they’ve the buses, the coaching, the workers, the infrastructure to ship the companies, so we do not have to do it alone,” McFadden defined, including, “so we may be more practical. with taxpayer {dollars}.

Now, McFadden stated, each space faculty district besides Twin Ridges is considering consolidating diet companies in the identical method: to optimize what and the way college students eat.

“This isn’t an indictment towards our present meals service departments in any method. They’re superb,” McFadden stated. “What we wish to discover is: do now we have the flexibility to save lots of taxpayer cash whereas additional increasing and bettering the dietary high quality that we provide our college students?”

McFadden stated shopping for meals gadgets for 8,000 college students as an alternative of two,000 will doubtless be cheaper per merchandise.

The authority will enable native districts to pool assets and use taxpayer {dollars} extra successfully. An identical authority has been utilized in Santa Clarita for the final 25 years.

McFadden stated Twin Ridges Elementary Faculty District is small and to this point aside geographically that it did not make sense for them to take part.

McFadden stated the authority has capability for Twin Ridges to come back collectively as soon as operations are working easily.

The subsequent step, for now, and the rationale for submitting the authority’s proposal to the state by June 30, was to acquire grants and funds from the non-public sector to undertake new diet insurance policies with out affecting the budgets of college districts and workers. faculty.

Retzler raised greater than $200,000 for “a complete examine” that signifies an authority “is extraordinarily possible and could be of monumental profit to Nevada County college students and households,” McFadden stated.

McFadden stated it will not be potential to get the mission achieved in the long run, however a minimum of districts could have an opportunity to see if it really works, even when it is nonetheless two years away.

Colleges Superintendent Scott Lay stated in April that colleges have been working with Sierra Harvest for the previous 10 years.

“The timing was not proper,” Lay stated. “The time is true now. We’re a yr behind the place we thought we’d be. We mentioned this in February 2020 after which COVID hit and we put it on maintain; fortunately, we did not delete it.”

Rebecca O’Neil is a workers author for The Union. You possibly can attain her at [email protected]

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