LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a show of solidarity in providing healthy meals to U.S. students, the Urban School Food Alliance (USFA), which consists of some of the largest school districts in the country, will be serving the same lunch menu to its more than 2.9 million students today. The six school districts, New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools, Dallas Independent School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, officially formed USFA earlier this year to use their purchasing power to continue to improve food quality for students while driving down costs.
"This show of solidarity is unprecedented," said Los Angeles Unified School District Food Services Director David Binkle. "It demonstrates that all the school districts in the alliance can work together to implement the same programs while serving nutritious meals to our students."
The lunch meal, consisting of savory roasted chicken, brown rice with seasoned black or red beans, steamed green broccoli, fresh seasonal fruit and milk, will be served more than 2.6 million times today in the six districts.
"We created this menu based on the most popular items we commonly serve in each of our Districts," said Leslie Fowler, Director of Nutrition Support Services at Chicago Public Schools. "Our goal moving forward is to identify these commonalities and work with our vendors to capitalize on our purchasing power so that we're providing the best and freshest foods possible to our students at the lowest costs possible."
The Urban School Food Alliance first met in Denver in 2012 and has since kept in communication regularly via telephone. The food services directors from each of the school districts share and review menu items to ensure that they provide access to meals that meet the USDA's nutrient recommendations including whole grain products, low fat dairy, fresh produce and lean protein that when prepared are calorie conscious and low in fat, sugar and sodium. In addition to creating a purchasing powerhouse, the coalition is working to be more ecologically friendly in their respective districts. As a whole, the alliance procures more than $530 million in food and food supplies annually.
In recent years, the school districts in the alliance have implemented innovative ways to provide access to school meals including expanded options for reaching more students with breakfast on campus as well as supper after school in order to meet the needs of students.
SOURCE Urban School Food Alliance (USFA)