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Neighbors unite: Three local child nutrition departments collaborate to offer professional development training

FALLBROOK – The Child Nutrition Services (CNS) staff from Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD), Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD), and Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) came together at the FUESD Central Kitchen facility to participate in a hands-on culinary training, Friday, Oct. 6.

Melissa Phillips of Tyson Foods, a leader in the K-12 food industry, offered this professional development opportunity to the districts and the visionary leaders saw it as another opportunity to bring their teams together.

Judi Reynolds, director of CNS for FUHSD, explained how this collaboration began, "We were discussing what a strong partnership we have between the three of us and we wanted to expand that to our team. The idea of 'Neighbors Unite' was born from that discussion. I believe when we bring our cafeteria staff together they support each other and learn from one another."

Kursten Orr, director of CNS for BUSD expanded, "Working in a school cafeteria requires a lot from our staff. They have to work quickly, accurately, be friendly and engaging with the students, and ensure the food is handled safely. Meeting other professionals doing the same type of work is motivating and inspiring."

This is not the first collaboration between these three innovative districts. In August, the three teams joined forces for a Back to School meeting, which included a motivational speaker, expert guidance from their Nutrition Consultant from the California Department of Education, and hands-on culinary training including knife skills and using standardized recipes.

These three school districts also collaborate with purchasing food from local farms including Dickinson Family Farms in Fallbrook, Dassi Family Farms in Encinitas, and Davis Family Farm in Valley Center.

Amy Haessly, RD, director of CNS for FUESD shared, "I love collaborating with our neighbors. We have learned to combine our buying power and now we are combining our teams to create a synergy so that our staff feel supported. This results in better foods and improved service for our students so they can succeed!"

For more information about these programs, contact:

FUESD CNS Department at 760-731-4352, FUHSD CNS Department at 760-731-1601 or BUSD CNS Department at 760-631-5200 x1025

Submitted by Fallbrook Union Elementary School District.


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