At a time when Guilford is taking steps to bring more local farm produce into their schools.
The district this week announced that Timothy Cipriano is the new food services director for the district. “Chef Tim,” as he is known, was previously the executive director of food services for New Haven Public Schools. He also worked collaboratively with the New Haven community to partner and start educational programs to increase nutritional awareness among students and revamped the district’s menu, offering more nutritious foods on a daily basis.
“Since joining this community I have been challenged by parents, by our Wellness Committee, by our Board of Education to improve the quality and the nutritional value of our school lunches,” School Superintendent Paul Freeman said. “We know that good nutrition is essential to healthy development, and we know that positive habits are developed during the school-aged years. We also know that kids want to eat food that is appealing and that tastes good. Working with Chef Tim, I know that we can bring more healthy foods into our cafeterias and we can encourage more of our students to develop healthy food habits.”
He said Cipriano’s hiring would help bring healthy, high quality food to students and staff.
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One of Cipriano’s first priorities will be to partner with area farms. Affectionately known as the “Local Food Dude,” Cipriano strives to utilize as many local ingredients in the school meals as possible, the district said in a recent press release.
Last year in New Haven schools, the food service program purchased over 160,000 pounds of Connecticut grown produce. The plan for Guilford will be to work with the current produce vendors, focus on Connecticut and Guilford grown foods and to bring in farmers to talk to and cook with students.
In 2011, Cipriano was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House for his part in creating the “Chefs Move to Schools” program. He joined roughly 700 other chefs from across the nation in June of 2010 at the White House to officially kick off “Chefs Move to Schools,” which asks chefs from around the country to adopt schools in their communities to work with teachers, parents and school nutrition professionals to help educate kids about food and nutrition. The goal is to promote chefs as the catalyst for creating a new nation of child food advocates.
“Systematic change is needed in this country to control childhood obesity and to educate our children on proper nutrition and choosing REAL foods. With the support of the Culinary Institute of America, Share Our Strength, School Nutrition Association and other local and national organizations this change has begun,” Cipriano said in a statement issued this week. “Children look up to chefs. When I walk into one of our schools in my chef jacket the eyes of the children light up and I am asked if I cook on TV. The children are interested in what I have to say, making it easy to engage them about food. Children want to learn and ‘Chefs Move to Schools’ will help to facilitate the needed changes.”