Nutrition services

District 6 Nutrition Services Director Danielle Bock attends the White House Hunger, Nutrition and Health Conference

Danielle Bock traveled to Washington, DC last month to determine how to better serve students in the Greeley-Evans School District.

For the past 5 1/2 years, Bock has worked as Director of Nutrition Services in the district. Bock’s trip to Washington in late September showed him the need to better educate students about food, nutrition and its immense impact on a person’s overall health.

Bock was among more than 500 attendees at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, a one-day event Sept. 28 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

“It was about food and health and how food plays a role in disease prevention,” Bock said this week. “It was absolutely inspiring and the best day of my professional life.”

Like an active and ardent school nutrition professionalBock’s name ended up on the guest list compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies based on recommendations from others in areas focusing on hunger, health and nutrition.

Bock and his department are deeply concerned about food quality and the availability of good, healthy food for District 6 students and all individuals.

“In nutrition services, we have a value, and that value is that food is a basic human right,” Bock told the District 6 school board in August. “It is not a privilege. And we consider it our responsibility to ensure access to healthy and nutritious food for all of our students.

Bock knew the White House conference was going to take place this year, but didn’t receive the date until a few weeks before. Coincidentally, she had already planned to be in Washington for another industry related conference – with the International Fresh Produce Association scheduled for September 26-28.

Bock said she joined IFPA with the intention of learning how to bring more fruits and vegetables to schools. The IFPA invited Bock to its event and covered the cost of his trip. She made good use of her three-night stay in Washington.

Bock arrived in Washington on September 26 and met with other school nutrition professionals, as well as officials from the USDA and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office before attending the White House conference. . This was all related to his involvement with the IFPA.

As part of the Biden administration’s national strategy on hunger, nutrition and health, the White House conference was held for the first time in more than 50 years and included speakers and breakout sessions groups.

Greeley-Evans School District 6 Director of Nutrition Services Danielle Bock (left) poses with other school nutrition officers during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in Washington, DC Bock, who has been in her role for nearly six years, was invited to the one-day conference based on a recommendation for her work in the nutrition industry. With Bock are: Lindsay Aguilar from the Tucson Unified School District, Sal Valenza from West New York Schools (NJ), Betti Wiggins from the Houston Independent School District and Amanda Miller from the Des Moines Public Schools (Iowa). (Photo courtesy: Danielle Bock/Greeley-Evans School District 6).

The breakout sessions are aligned with the five pillars of the national strategy, Bock said:

  1. Improve food access and affordability;
  2. Integrate nutrition and health;
  3. Enable all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices;
  4. Support physical activity for all; and
  5. Improve research on nutrition and food security.

“Over the past 50 years, we have learned a great deal about nutrition and the role healthy eating plays in our children’s performance in the classroom and about nutrition and its links to disease prevention,” President Joe wrote. Biden in a letter at the start of the 44-page strategy. “This important conference and commitment to a national strategy to end hunger and eat healthier foods will build on the research and knowledge we have now to make America a truly stronger and healthier nation. “

Biden addressed the conference and the list of other speakers included US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, US Senses Debbie Stabenow, Mike Braun and Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chef Jose Andres. , who is known for his culinary and humanitarian work. Susan Rice, former ambassador for the US Domestic Policy Council, moderated the conference.

Conference participants came from a variety of backgrounds. Only six school nutrition professionals attended, Bock said, along with doctors, other scientists and advocates such as people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps. .

Some of the other participants were people working in urban areas, creating urban farms and using the space to help others learn how to cook and grow food and teach about food-related illnesses.

“How can we give people a bonus? How do you transform a system when people living in poverty suffer from food-related illnesses because fruit is more expensive? Bock asked.

Greeley-Evans School District 6 Director of Nutrition Services Danielle Bock (right) participates in a session during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022 in Washington, DC Bock, which has been in her role for nearly six years, was invited to the one-day conference based on recommendations for her work in the nutrition industry. (Photo courtesy: Danielle Bock/Greeley-Evans School District 6).

Bock left the conference with determination and a better understanding of the importance of having meal times calculated in minutes of school instruction each day so that students learn nutrition education more actively.

“We can give kids healthy meals, but if we don’t teach kids what they put in their bodies and how it affects them, then what’s the point?” she asked.

FF proposal: “It has to pass”

This fall, voters in Colorado will have a say in school meals with Proposition FF, a state law aimed at allowing voters to decide whether all school meals are free for all students again.

The FF proposal would reduce income tax deduction amounts for those earning $300,000 or more. The money would come from capping the state’s itemized and standard income tax deductions and creating and funding the “Healthy School Meals for All” program. Participating districts could then provide free meals to students and provide schools with local food grants and school food-related funding, according to Ballotpedia.

American Senses Cory Booker, left, of New Jersey, Mike Braun of Indiana join Ambassador Susan Rice and U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts for a conversation at the White House Conference on Hunger, La nutrition and health on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC (Photo courtesy: Danielle Bock/Greeley-Evans School District 6).
American Senses Cory Booker, left, of New Jersey, Mike Braun of Indiana join Ambassador Susan Rice and U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts for a conversation at the White House Conference on Hunger, La nutrition and health on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC (Photo courtesy: Danielle Bock/Greeley-Evans School District 6).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the USDA initiated emergency action under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to allow school districts to provide free food to students during closures. The waivers were extended through the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, but expired earlier this year, meaning the loss of federal funding for food program operators, including school districts.

Bock said while the FF proposal isn’t the ideal solution to feeding all Colorado students for free, its passage would provide a solution for some school districts — which may be operating with complicated legislation.

Bock worries if FF doesn’t do well on the ballot, state lawmakers will take that as a sign that school lunches are unpopular with voters, making them reluctant to pass future legislation.

“It has to pass,” Bock said. “It will be so fantastic when we make it clear to the public that meals are part of a student’s day and shouldn’t be a separate ancillary program of a school district.”