LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – The Urban School Food Alliance (the Alliance), a coalition of the largest school districts in the United States that includes New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Orange County in Orlando and Broward County in Fort Lauderdale. Now you can add Clark County School District in Las Vegas to that list.
Their addition will expand the Urban School Food Alliance’s collective student reach to more than 3.6 million children and the group’s total annual purchasing power to nearly $735 million in food and food supplies.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Clark County School District, the School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools to the Urban School Food Alliance,” said Eric Goldstein, chairman of the Alliance and chief executive officer of School Support Services for the New York City Department of Education. “We understand that nutritious meals help students excel in school and we’re excited to work with CCSD, SDP and City Schools in challenging industry to create healthy, innovative products for the health and wellness of students,” Goldstein said.
The fifth largest school district in the United States, CCSD serves 326,000 students, nearly 75 percent of all K-12 school-children in Nevada. SDP is the 13th biggest school district in the nation and the largest in Pennsylvania, serving 134,000 students. Baltimore City Public Schools is the 36th largest in the country with more than 82,000 students.
“We recognize the collective strength of the Urban School Food Alliance districts,” said David Wines, CCSD Food Service Director. “CCSD believes in providing high quality meals that are nutritious and delicious. The Alliance embodies this vision and we are proud to be a part of this organization,” Wines said.
“It’s an honor to work with the Alliance as we start the new school year,” said SDP Senior Vice President of Food Services Wayne T Grasela. “We strive for excellence in the meals we provide our students and we believe the Urban School Food Alliance will be a great partner in continuing to fulfill this mission,” Grasela said.
A non profit group, member districts in the Urban School Food Alliance share best practices and leverage their collective purchasing power to drive school food quality up and costs down through socially responsible practices. Together, its districts serve nearly 593 million meals annually.
“We are excited to join the Alliance at the same time as two other districts around the country, who share our belief in bringing healthier meals to students,” said Elizabeth Marchetta, executive director of the Food and Nutrition Department at Baltimore City Public Schools. “The Urban School Food Alliance will allow us to improve the quality of products we offer through the influence, strength and reach of our collective purchasing,” Marchetta said.
The Urban School Food Alliance has already created systemic changes in the food service world for healthier, nutritious meals for students. Even before many of the nation’s leading restaurants called for healthier poultry in their menus, the Alliance already adopted a policy to help school districts move toward an antibiotic free standard for companies to follow when supplying chicken products to its schools. In addition, the Alliance rolled out the use of compostable round plates at cafeterias, removing 225 million polystyrene trays from landfills every year to ensure sound environmental practices.