Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jennifer Gerard gets award for food program at MPUSD

Jennifer Gerard, nutrition chief at Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, just received a 2015 California Food for California Kids Innovation Award for the program “Bay2Tray” local seafood procurement program.

The epicurean, whose programs and ideas we've extensively covered at the Herald, worked with local fishers to identify a new protein source: Grenadier, a by-catch that is usually discarded. This light and flaky fish made its way into the lunchroom in various forms: fish tacos, a chipotle-fish and cilantro-lime rice bowl, and fresh fish & chips. Students are responding enthusiastically, according to the Center for Ecoliteracy, which bestowed the award.

“We are privileged to honor the great work of entrepreneurial leaders like Jennifer Gerard,” Zenobia Barlow, executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, said in a statement. “And, thanks to the California Thursdays network, these innovative ideas are ‘catching.”

The idea for Bay2Tray began when Gerard noticed something problematic in her district. The students looked out over the Monterey Bay each day and then went back to the cafeteria for lunch to eat frozen fish sticks from who knows where. “It's a disservice to our fishing community,” Gerard says.

The California Food for California Kids Awards was presented to five school districts at a ceremonial dinner in San Diego. No word if they awardees were served grenadier.

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