Quietly Making Noise is the title of one of Jimmy Buffet’s songs – those of you who are part of the Parrot Head group may know it. The title aptly describes what child nutrition professionals have done in these past weeks in making children in their districts have access to meals, even if learning is taking place off site. I am humbled by your dedication and very proud to be affiliated with the School Nutrition Association. In following initiatives on the School Nutrition web site as well as other sources, it became clear new ways of meeting the mission of school meals were being sought. The responsiveness of those in operations, state agencies, USDA, suppliers and vendors, as well as School Nutrition Association staff is remarkable.
As we begin the countdown to ending another academic year, it is good to think about what changes to improve child nutrition programs can be made in the future, or what trials introduced during the pandemic might become permanent. Making a change is not as simple as just deciding it be done; we all know there are procedures that have to be followed. One way to get buy-in from those resistant to change is to show the return on the investment – whether that return is a direct or indirect improvement. Research that shows evidence of the value of making a change to improve operational effectiveness is what this publication, your journal, is all about.
Some of you may be conducting research as part of determining effectiveness of recent changes in your operations. You may not think it is research because it is only focused on a specific school or one change. For instance, those of you who initiated a new delivery system for meals during the corona virus pandemic likely have some useful information to share with other practitioners. What worked? What didn’t? Yes, there may only be data from one district, BUT others may be able to use the details of this case to support efforts to initiate a new approach of their own, or make a change in the current practice for meal delivery. I encourage you to think about telling your story through a submission as a Practical Solutions contribution to the Journal.
Most of you participate in professional development opportunities as a way to stay current with best practice. The School Nutrition Association offers multiple ways to participate – whether it be through use of publications, webinars, the Training Zone, or attendance at conferences. At this writing, the Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association was still on track to be held in Nashville, Tennessee this year. I am excited about attending, presenting, and interacting with you! Please introduce yourself to me if you get the chance, as it helps me to stay connected. Make a point to swing by the ANC Poster Session, aka Child Nutrition Showcase, to find out some of the current research and learn about some successful initiatives.
Our goal for the Journal is to provide you with useful and relevant information for child nutrition programs. Articles published in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management go through a double blind, peer-review process. This means author names and other identifying information is redacted by the editor before review by those familiar with research processes and school nutrition. The editorial board works tirelessly to ensure research questions are answered following scientific rigor, and that the information is communicated effectively.
AN UPDATE: Our Journal currently uses the style guidance established by the American Psychological Association. This association released the 7th Edition of its APA Manual last October. Effective January 1, 2021, the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management will use this edition as our style guide. Submissions between now and end of 2020 may use either the 6th or 7th Edition.
IN THIS ISSUE
The School Nutrition Association has identified five research priorities. In this issue of the Journal, two of the priorities, Meal Participation and Value and Outcome of School Nutrition Programs, are addressed in one or more categories of articles. Further, as a retired Extension Educator, I am pleased to see that two of the articles involved collaboration with USDA Cooperative Extension partners.
This issue of the Journal has one Current Issue article, three Research in Action papers, and two manuscripts that provide Practical Solutions. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service gives us an update on current research projects.
The Current Issue paper by Allison Bouzek and her former professor, Dr. Alice Jo Rainville, provides a review of the literature related to the nutritional quality of foods served in child care settings.
The first Research in Action article by Nicholas Drzal, Katherine Alaimo, and Rebecca Henne provides information about the impact of Smarter Lunchroom fruit and vegetable strategies within multiple districts in the state of Michigan, working in concert with USDA Cooperative Extension staff. Keely O’Keefe and her colleagues (Elena Serrano, George Davis, D. Austin Cole, Madlyn Frisard, and Alisha R. Farris) investigated costs of various lunch options considering food and time inputs. The final Research in Action article by Noelle Yeo and Lisa Harnack explores perceptions held by the school food authorities at secondary schools in Minnesota’s public districts regarding benefits and challenges with implementation of Smart Snacks.
In the Practical Solutions category, the team of Georgianna Mann, Marie Barnard, Kathy Knight, Eleanor Green, and Emma Tkachuk present perceptions of cafeteria staff toward a farm to school program in one district and share “lessons learned” from the project.Carol Smathers and Cheryl Graffagnino describe the trials in one district that showed how presentation style of apples resulted in the most consumption, and subsequently less wasted food cost and product.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service Research Team has provided a summary of completed projects and those currently in progress. Findings from these helps policy makers and practitioners in making informed, data-driven decisions.
That’s this issue in a nutshell! Keep “quietly making noise”!
Catherine Strohbehn, PhD, RD.
Professor Emeritus/Extension Specialist Hospitality Management Iowa State University
Editor, Journal of Child Nutrition and Management
School Nutrition Association
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