ScratchWorks is a collective of school food professionals and nonprofit organizations committed to supporting school districts in cooking meals from scratch using whole, fresh ingredients, providing students with the nutrition they need for their educational success, health, and wellbeing.
ScratchWorks began in the spring of 2019 with a commitment from six food service directors and four supporting organizations to envision a new possibility: to design a collective vision for the future of nutritious school meals.
Our upcoming annual event has been in development for nearly 3 years and has been led by the following districts and organizations of ScratchWorks:
Director, Arlington Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services
Executive Chef and Director of Food Services
President and Founder, Chef Ann Foundation
Director, Culinary and Wellness Services, Minneapolis Public Schools
Director of Strategic Partnerships and Policy, NYC Department of Education Office of School Food
Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Austin Independent School District
“Serving fresh, tasty scratched cooked meals has helped children develop their sense of taste and also help them make good food choices without being influenced by fast food trends, media, and marketing. Since we moved away from processed food and transitioned to fresh scratch meals, we have seen the positive impact on our students in Minneapolis. As quoted by one of our district leaders, ‘I cannot thank you enough for your culinary leadership for our students, what a great healthy opportunity for our kids to have such choices for food each day and the nourishment it provides our students everyday!‘
We are hopeful that this conference allows school food leaders across the country to have the resources, opportunity and network to continue to serve fresh, healthy and tasty food to our kids”.
– Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools
On April 24-26, ScratchWorks will be holding a multi-day professional development and networking event in Austin, TX that will bring together school food leaders to increase their scratch cooking. Representatives from 93 school districts with 154 attendees total, including external presenters, special guests, Chef Ann Foundation Fellows, facilitators, and volunteers, will come together for this multi-day event, featuring nearly 20 educational sessions led by school food operators from across the country. Sessions will include topics such as Scratch vs. Speed Scratch, Message Development for Your Program, Policies and Legislation Supporting Scratch Cooking, Recipe and Menu Development as well as a dinner and reception at Ladybird Wildflower Center. Administrator of USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Cindy Long, will be speaking at our closing session April 26th. She will be speaking about where she feels school food is going and some of the new initiatives that have come forth from the USDA FNS team over the past year. We are excited that the ScratchWorks Annual Gathering is the first national conference to focus all of its educational sessions, field trips and experiences around scratch cooking in schools.
“This will be a conference focused on scratch cooking. We are excited to have a place for innovators and forward thinking school food leaders to share their ideas and bring them back to their own school food programs.”
– Amy Maclosky, Arlington Public Schools
We know scratch cooking presents more complexities than serving packaged food and we also know that bringing leaders together to share their experiences is one of the most significant things that can be done to increase scratch cooking in schools and our country. We hope that this opportunity provides the opportunity for leaders of school food programs across the country to build relationships and work to feed the healthiest, tastiest meals so that kids are well-nourished and ready to learn.
Stay tuned for updates following the Gathering!