The Student Voice Behind School Food

Keep an eye out for a new addition to this year’s Middle and High School lunch and supper menus - three new recipes crafted by the School Food Advisory, a youth-led group that collaborates with SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services to elevate the student voice within Student Nutrition Services and engage students in reimagining the school dining experience.


Haven’t heard of them? The School Food Advisory (SFA) is a cohort of high school students from across the District who are passionate about working to ensure the school meal programs are student-centered. During spring 2018, 12 high school students dedicated 14 Friday afternoons to working collaboratively with Student Nutrition Services, utilizing the design thinking process to develop their own recipes and solve for the following design challenge:

How might we design an inclusive dining experience where high school students feel represented and look forward to enjoying a meal at school?

During the course of the semester, students learned about the school meal program, history, and government regulations, coupled with policy and advocacy experience, and culinary training, all through the lens of design-thinking. Their work culminated in three new recipes, which they presented to district administrators, SNS staff, teachers, families, and their peers, and are now featured weekly on all Middle and High School monthly menus. This curriculum was crafted and curated by three fearless Leadership Fellows, who worked with their peers to explore the challenges within the school meal program and how they could influence change within the system.

Now in its third year, the SFA is expanding to include student representatives from all SFUSD high schools to ensure all school voices are represented and that all students- of every race, ethnicity, language, identity, learning level and ability- enjoy the school dining experience to ensure they thrive inside and outside of the classroom. Through a three year pathway, students will have leadership and internship opportunities that will expose them to a range of experiences to build career and life skills aligned with SFUSD’s Vision 2025 Graduate Profile.

Want to learn more about the SFA? Contact program leads Henry O’Connell oconnellh@sfusd.edu and Renata Cauchon cauchonr@sfusd.edu. We will be recruiting students to join the SY 2018-19 School Food Advisory this semester. Students who are interested, stay tuned for the application, it will be post be here when the positions are available. Student Nutrition Services is currently looking to hire a Student Engagement Coordinator to grow and expand this program, see more information on how to apply on our Jobs page.

The SFA is a project of SFUSD’s Future Dining Experience. It was started in Fall 2016 by Juri Sanchez and Henry O’Connell, thanks to a generous grant provided by the Stupski Foundation and ongoing support and partnership from the Sara and Evan Williams Foundation.

Look for our student crafted recipes Rogeli’s Alfredo Pasta, Chicken Curry, and Pesto Pasta on the menu this fall!