The Austin Independent School District will provide local-sourced food in school cafeterias with an increase in student lunch participation.
AISD will begin offering the grass-fed beef from Augustus Ranch in Yoakam, Texas and will be sourcing this beef through The Common Market Texas, a mission-based distributor of sustainable, local farm foods. The distribution of grass-fed beef commits to AISD's Good Food Purchasing Program in both animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Research has found that grass-fed beef contains a greater nutritional value than conventionally raised beef. AISD made a similar change with serving grass-fed burger patties at high schools in the 2018-19 school year and middle schools this year. Grass-fed beef will be featured at all levels in recipes, including tacos, enchiladas, meatloaf and more.
"Through feedback collected from our annual Food Service surveys, we have found that our communities would like to see more locally-sourced foods and grass-fed beef on our menus," said Annelise Tanner, Austin ISD Executive Director of Food Services. "As a result of more AISD students making the choice to eat school meals, we are now able to serve Texas-raised, grass-fed beef district-wide. This change supports our mission of providing healthy, tasty meals to all students, and positively impacts Texas ranchers, the local economy and our commitment to the Good Food Purchasing Program."
According to the annual Food Service survey, there is to be locally grass-fed beef served at school cafeterias. In order for the district to serve organic food, there needs to be an increase in participation at school cafeterias by students. With an increase of participation, there will be a gradual change in each student's food not only with grass-fed beef but with more variation of organic foods and organic milk.
"I think the idea of offering more organic foods at school cafeterias is a great thing to do," said Karla Pulido, a student at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. "It will expose more students to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle starting with the food offered at schools."
If all students made the choice to get lunch once a week, AISD could provide grass-fed beef. If students do so twice a week, AISD could provide all-organic produce. If students do so three times each week, all milk served in AISD could be organic.
About Austin ISD Food Services
Austin Independent School District serves approximately 75,000 meals per day to 129 campuses and manages a $13 million annual food budget.
This district is committed to expanding healthy food access, nutrition education, and sustainability efforts. AISD is reinventing the urban school meal experience through programs such as breakfast in the classroom, food trucks, salad bars, and increased scratch cooking.