A Walk on the Wild Side

How one school nutrition director leveraged SNA’s 2021 National School Lunch Week theme for a creative community collaboration.

CPS and Cincinnati Zoo's NSLW21 partnership flyer

Photo credit: Cincinnati Public Schools

Jessica Shelly, MBA, REHS, SNS, Director of Student Dining Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, has a long history with the city’s landmark zoo, stretching back to her undergraduate days when she worked as an intern there: “I remember helping prepare different foods for the animals and commenting, ‘They eat better than we do. Streamlined and fresh.’”

Shelly never lost sight of this perspective, trying, on different occasions, to use the zoo animals as a way to engage students in selecting the healthy fresh produce items available in the cafeteria. “We played around with an “Eat Like an Animal” theme with signage on our salad bar, but it never really took off,” she laments. So, you can imagine Shelly’s excitement when SNA announced the “Wild About School Lunch!” campaign theme for National School Lunch Week (NSLW) 2021: “I saw the sloth in the artwork and realized this could be our way in.” ...

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