Betti Wiggins Wins IFMA 2017 Silver Plate Award


Betti Wiggins Wins IFMA 2017 Silver Plate Award

Calling it a “recognition of the achievements” of her life’s work in school nutrition, Betti Wiggins, executive director in the Office of School Nutrition for Detroit (Mich.) Public Schools Community District, was the winner of International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) 2017 Silver Plate Award in the category of Elementary and Secondary Schools.

Presented annually to honor eight of the nation’s top foodservice professionals, Wiggins has been outspoken advocate for children and a community leader in the city of Detroit. With limited resources, she transformed the district’s program to not only serve 85,000 nutritious breakfasts and lunches daily and buy produce from local farmers, but also was instrumental in establishing the Detroit School Garden Collaborative, that placed raised-bed gardens at 82 school sites so they could grow their own food.

“It has always been my vision to feed people, feed people well and think of innovative ways to meet the needs of people,” said Wiggins, who this year was selected as a part of the School Nutrition Foundation’s 2017 class of School Nutrition Heroes, and won the FAME Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year Award as well as the FoodService Director magazine’s Foodservice Director of the Year. “One of the things that I did when I began this journey [at Detroit Public Schools in 2008] is I took all the junk off the menu and I made a statement that we are going to serve only health food in Detroit. The Garden Collaborative came as consequence of having that self-help spirit to make sure our kids had a healthy meal.“I always told my kids, we may be poor but we’re not broke; we are going to maximize our resources to make sure that we have a high-quality program.”

Wiggins is the third SNA member in recent years to win the IFMA Silver Plate Award. SNA Past Presidents Mary Hill, SNS, executive director of Food Services, Jackson (Miss.) Public Schools, won in 2015, and Julia Bauscher, SNS, director of school and community nutrition services for Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools, received the award in 2012.

Concluded Wiggins, “I could not have received this prestigious honor [from IFMA] without the kind of staff that I have and the energy that they bring to work every day.”

Wiggins will receive the award at the Annual IFMA Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration on May 20 in Chicago, Ill.

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