Jeff Mills: DC's Food RevolutionaryTue 31 May 2011
Story by The Food Revolution Team
Jeff Mills: Food Service Director, District of Columbia
Jeff is the ambitious former NYC restaurateur hired to revolutionize DC Public Schools’ food. Jeff helps confront DC’s childhood obesity crisis by ensuring that 45,000 students have access to high quality school meals and are empowered to make healthy choices.
Jeff has implemented two pilot studies to drastically improve food quality and taste – the ‘Portable Meals’ pilot study and the ‘From Scratch Meals’ pilot study.
The ‘Portable Meals’ pilot program run by Revolution Foods makes quality food easier for schools undergoing renovation or without kitchens to prepare and serve to students, in which appealing, high quality meals are packed in biodegradable or recyclable portable containers and distributed to schools.
In the ‘From Scratch Meals’ pilot program - D.C. Central Kitchen’s Fresh Start Catering Company create from scratch meals from fresh, local and nutritious ingredients to and distributed to seven pilot schools.
Jeff has ensured that vendors source at least 20% of their ingredients locally and uses these local and season fruits and vegetables whenever possible. In Jeff’s view “It does not suffice to simply read nutrition information and manufacturers’ specs. In order to ensure what we serve our students is of high caliber, we need to see the food, taste the food, and learn the process of how that food is grown, processed, kept, shipped, and served”.
Rather than just have fresh food delivered Jeff carries out extensive research to ensure that he has seen the where the food is coming from, inspected the facilities and tasted it first and can be sure he knows everything about the food being served to the students. Jeff and his team are not satisfied until they know that every product on the lunch tray tastes good, looks good and is healthy and nutritious.
Processed foods have been cut from the menu – with the elimination of artificial trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, fried foods have been removed from the menu and whole grain products are always used.
In line with these standards, Jeff has also implemented a ban on flavored milk within schools, ensuring that only hormone and antibiotic free skim or 1% milk that is free of artificial colors and flavors is served within D.C. public schools.
By June, DCPS will have served 2 million more meals than last year saving $1 million!
Read more here.
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