Whitefish Schood District food service program wins awards

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The Whitefish School District’s food program has earned both state and national recognition.

Led by Food Service Director Jay Stagg, the district’s food programs have been selected for the Montana Cook Fresh Award and the National Healthy Schools Award.

Whitefish Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt said the food service program goes above and beyond in their service to the students.

“It’s not only the fact that they cook healthy and nutritious meals, but they cook meals where they involve the farm-to-school aspect, they use locally sourced products, and they make food that the kids actually want to eat and that they enjoy eating,” she said. “I think it’s an incredible honor to be able to celebrate them in this way.”

The Montana Cook Fresh Award recognizes school food service staff who illustrate exemplary culinary skills with an emphasis on increasing the variety of vegetables and from scratch recipes for entrées, soups, salads and vegetables, according a press release. Scoring is based on meeting or exceeding school meal requirements set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The sponsors of the award program are Montana Office of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Programs, Montana Team Nutrition and Montana No Kid Hungry. The award is in its first year and other Montana schools to earn the award include Hinsdale, North Star and Townsend.

The National Healthy Schools Award is part of the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge program and recognizes schools that excel in promoting nutrition and physical activity.

Whitefish High School earned the bronze award this year, joining Muldown Elementary School and Whitefish Middle School, who earned the award last year.

More than 100 schools in Montana have earned a HealthierUS School Challenge award. The program ended this past July, making WHS the last school to receive the award in Montana.

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