On May 25, Seattle Public Schools Culinary Services program continued its mission of serving freshly cooked, locally sourced, and culturally relevant food in school meals. All 109 Seattle Public Schools (SPS) served students a freshly prepared salmon alfredo pasta dish with 3,000 pounds of sustainable, local salmon purchased from Muckleshoot Seafood Products. OSE’s Healthy Food in Schools Program helped connect SPS Culinary Services staff with Muckleshoot Seafood Products to source the salmon and support the purchase.
Muckleshoot Tribal Council Member and fisherman Louie Ungaro visited the Seattle World School on the day of the event to talk with SPS Culinary Services staff and OSE staff about sustainable salmon fishing, natural resource conservation, Native-owned food businesses and Tribal enterprises, food sovereignty, and the importance of fresh and nutritious school meals.
SPS Culinary Services has been working to transform Seattle’s school meal program by prioritizing menu items cooked “from scratch” with fresh, locally sourced foods that reflect diverse cultures and cuisines. Earlier this school year, SPS served misir wot (Ethiopian spiced red lentils) with injera (Ethiopian flatbread); the lentils were locally grown, and the injera came from Sebhat Bakery, a locally-owned business. For Lunar New Year, SPS served stir fry with crispy tofu and bok choy.
Providing nutritious, freshly made school meals is an investment in the health, learning, and well-being of Seattle students. By purchasing high-quality meal ingredients from local farmers, fisheries, and other food businesses, SPS is providing healthy meals for students and supporting the local economy for a more sustainable, equitable food system.
This collaboration between SPS Culinary Services and the Muckleshoot Tribe exemplifies “values-based” food purchasing, a priority for OSE and other City departments that manage food programs with many community partners. By aligning food purchases with core values such as racial equity, health, local economy, cultural relevance, and environmental sustainability, values-based procurement is an important way OSE’s Healthy Food in Schools Program uses public dollars from the Seattle Sweetened Beverage Tax to support an equitable, sustainable, and resilient local food system.