TDA recognizes district’s FANS program for local products challenge

  Fuel Café Specialist    Rachel Stewart    (left) and Fuel Café Manager  Tanya Olvera-Breazeale  (right) display a box of farm-fresh, Texas oranges headed to the Lake Travis Middle School cafeteria. 

Fuel Café Specialist Rachel Stewart (left) and Fuel Café Manager Tanya Olvera-Breazeale (right) display a box of farm-fresh, Texas oranges headed to the Lake Travis Middle School cafeteria. 

Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller honored the Lake Travis Independent School District’s Food and Nutrition Services department with a Perfect Peach Award for its efforts to incorporate local ingredients as part of TDA’s 2015 Local Products Challenge.

Each year, TDA challenges schools to use Texas products in at least three meal components including dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables or grains.

“Teaching children about healthy lifestyles by introducing them to nutritious foods grown in Texas is a top priority at TDA,” Commissioner Miller said. “When our school nutrition partners participate in the Local Products Challenge, they strengthen Texas agriculture and demonstrate their commitment to developing good nutritional habits for the young Texans they serve and their entire communities.”

According to TDA, participation in the Local Products Challenge continues to grow each year.  More than 90 school districts participated in the 2015 Local Products Challenge, and 65 of those earned a Perfect Peach Award.

Some of the Texas products offered at Lake Travis ISD include corn, green beans, roasted squash, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges and milk.

“Throughout the year, our dedicated school nutrition team prepares healthy meals that support student wellness across our district,” Lake Travis ISD Director of Food and Nutrition Services Traci Miller said. “This award highlights our efforts to incorporate local products into our meals, while supporting local farmers and encouraging students to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Earlier this year, TDA conducted a comprehensive review of the district’s Food and Nutrition Services program which resulted in no significant findings—the equivalent of a perfect score.  The review, performed between November 2015 and January 2016, focused on numerous standards including dietary specifications and nutrient analysis; fresh fruits and vegetables; smart snacks; financial integrity; local school wellness policy; and food safety. The inspection also included site visits to Lake Pointe and Bee Cave elementary schools. Findings would have prompted TDA to take fiscal action or to conduct a follow up review.  In its review, TDA stated, “LTISD café staff were caring and attentive to students. The food quality and presentation were remarkable, and the program exemplifies the highest standards of service by teaching children the relationship between proper eating and good health.”

Additionally, to ensure the highest food safety standards are followed, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department performs two comprehensive inspections of LTISD cafés each year. The average inspection score for the district’s cafés this year is 99%.