What a week it was last week! Officially halfway through this semester, so I’m a quarter of the way through my internship! Monday we attended a seminar after class about obesity and the loss of taste. It was fascinating! Most of the research was done in mice, but basically, those that were obese had fewer taste buds and the taste buds they did have were less sensitive to sugar and salt. How interesting is that!
Tuesday I attended a farm-to-school summit. The NY Commissioner of Agriculture was there along with representatives from USDA, NY Board of Education, and many other departments. A lot of the day was talking about what has been done all over the state with farm-to-school and what we can do to improve the program. Apparently, the reimbursement price for school lunches has been stagnant for the past 30 years! For 30 years, schools have only been spending $1.25 on lunch for each student, which is absolutely insane! The cost of food has definitely increased, so why hasn’t reimbursement and how can schools actually accomplish feeding students with such a small budget? Getting foods from all over the globe through wholesale distributors, rather than their neighbors, is so much cheaper. Using local products is more expensive, as that farmer needs to make a living wage. They can’t undermine their prices or they won’t be able to pay their bills. Besides this mess with reimbursement, there are great things going on here in NY with farm-to-school, which I’ll get to.
I spent the majority of Wednesday touching up a power point for an in-service for teacher aides on Friday, nothing too exciting. Thursday was much more lively. I went to one of the schools and we set up a taste test of chili that was made with local ingredients for students. It was a southwest chicken chili made with local butternut squash and peppers and if we can get it on the menu for December, local chicken as part of the school’s farm-to-school initiative. All new recipes are taste tested to make sure the students like it, and they really seemed to like this one! Later that afternoon, I got approval for my research project! It will be about perceptions of a community organization, farms, and school food service staff on farm-to-school programs. I’m really excited that I can finally start this, especially because I will be presenting it December 8th, so I don’t have much time.
Friday I gave my in-service. I was so nervous about it at first, but once I got to the school, I was totally calm. Shout out to my formative years spent on stage at the theatre! It’s weird being in a room of people 20+ years older than me with much more experience in their field than I have in mine, yet I am the expert on what I am presenting. I’m getting more confident in my knowledge and myself, but I still don’t feel like I’m anywhere close to the expert. Anyway, this presentation was about food allergies and how to keep students and the cafeteria safe; the teacher aides are often in the cafeteria monitoring students. They all seemed friendly and talkative, which was great because I wanted to make it a discussion rather than a lecture, especially because it was 8 am on a Friday morning before a three-day weekend. People really got involved and were asking me lots of questions, although there were a few that I couldn’t answer so I turned them over to my preceptor who helped me out! Honestly, it was a great presentation and I felt really good about it. Here’s my favorite question I made for the quiz at the end!
I’m so happy that things are finally falling into place. I am so excited to take on the rest of this internship. Again, things are getting super busy. I’ll be writing two articles for a magazine and giving students a nutrition lesson, so I have a lot on my plate with these in addition to my research and school work. I’m trying to stay on top of things, but there’s only so much time in the day so I’m trying to stay calm and stay focused on my work in order to get every done and done well.