School Nutrition Coordinator Judi Smith is Inaugural Award Winner
Nourish Farms established its first annual Good Food Champion Award during its annual Good Food Party. The inaugural award went to….. Judi Smith, Nutrition Coordinator for the Sheboygan Area School District (SASD).
Smith joined the SASD shortly before the 2013-2014 school year, hired for her previous school nutrition experience, vision of improving the district’s meal program and her collaborative approach to problem solving. From the classroom, to the lunchroom and beyond the school, Smith has made a large impact in the three years since coming to Sheboygan.
“Largely due to Judi’s leadership, the SASD is on its way to becoming a national model for farm-to-school programs that can positively impact the health of area students,” said Heather Cleveland, executive director for Nourish. “For her passion and work in improving nutritional options for students and helping to bring nutrition education in creative ways, Nourish is honored to present Judi this recognition.”
Smith served on the Nourish board of directors after coming to Sheboygan, and immediately got involved in the nonprofit’s programming committee to find ways to integrate nutrition education throughout the school meals and curriculum. Today, there is a “Harvest of the Month” fresh vegetable or fruit item introduced to students every month, salad bars at all sites, local food procurement through AJ Produce, participation in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program (FFVP), and the SASD took the lead on summer lunch and breakfast in 2014 while incorporating Harvest of the Week, local foods, and winning the Turnip the Beet award for nutrition education during the summer. “Although we have a long way to go, we’ve come a long way and are on the right path to making nutrition, good food and education a priority for our youth” said Smith.
Smith worked with Nourish for two years on a U.S. Department of Education grant application, seeking federal assistance to continue the nutrition education started by the two organizations and expanding to other elementary schools. In late 2016, the SASD was one of 16 Physical Education Program (PEP) grant recipients nationwide, awarded $1.4 million, and a portion of the funding included extending nutrition curriculums throughout the district’s elementary schools.
Following the PEP grant, the SASD was awarded with a $100,000 USDA Farm-to-School grant. This will be used to build a school greenhouse, increase local food procurement in the SASD, expand the Harvest of the Month to the greater community, and to create lesson plans that use the greenhouse in all K-5 classrooms.
“Judi is a game-changer,” said Joe Sheehan, SASD superintendent. “Working with Nourish, she has put the SASD on a strategic path to positive change that is bringing local, fresh produce into our schools and hands-on nutrition education that is generating much excitement among our students. She is helping not only the kids – but their parents and our staff – appreciate our local food system and how to use fresh, nutritious foods to benefit our overall health.”
About Nourish Farms
Nourish is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Sheboygan, which delivers local, nutritious food and good-food education to the community through its Farm-to-School, Farm-to-Table and Farm-to-Community programs. Since its inception in 2009, Nourish has supported and promoted local farmers by connecting kids and families to the local food they produce. The mission of Nourish Farms is to empower the community to make more wholesome food choices.
For more information about Nourish Farms, its programs and events, please visit NourishFarms.org.