Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Office of School Nutrition (OSN) was recently granted more than $260 thousand in a three year collaboration with the Life Time Foundation, a public charity focused on improving school nutrition. The grant will fund more than 40 pieces of new farm and kitchen equipment to help harvest and mass produce vegetables grown in its Detroit School Garden Collaborative, a farm-to-school initiative that is used to feed the District’s students and families.
On December 1, Vice President of Life Time Foundation, Jason Thunstrom, joined DPSCD’s Interim Superintendent, Alycia Meriweather and Office of School Nutrition Executive Director, Betti Wiggins to discuss the partnership between the organizations and importance of providing students with nutritious meals. The grant totaling more than $264,000 will be officially presented along with a brief demonstration of how the equipment is utilized, and discussion around its importance.
To date, several pieces of equipment have been purchased including a tractor, rototiller, cultipacker, centrifuge system, packaging table, electric salad spinners and a refrigerated unit. More equipment will be purchased in the future.
Life Time Foundation Vice President Jason Thunstrom, DPSCD’s Interim Superintendent, Alycia Meriweather, Douglass Academy Principal Berry Greer and Office of School Nutrition Executive Director, Betti Wiggins.
The concept of this partnership began in 2011 by OSN Executive Director, Betti Wiggins. Life Time Foundation leadership noticed how successful Wiggins was at bringing healthier meals to the lunchroom and wanted to help take the program to the next level through a grant.
The Life Time Foundation, started by Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company which operates seven Life Time Fitness locations in the Detroit metro area, brings its nutrition expertise to DPSCD by reviewing the current lunch menu and the District’s suppliers with the goal of eliminating its Harmful Seven ingredients:
- Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Hormones & Antibiotics
- Artificial Colors & Flavors
- Processed & Artificial Sweeteners
- Artificial Preservatives
- Bleached Flour