WV School Garden Toolkit

written for and by west virginia school gardeners

Working with your Child Nutrition Director

By David Seay, Child Nutrition Director, Fayette County Schools

Child Nutrition is a very busy field.  There are many responsibilities and it never stops.

Normally the best time to contact a Child Nutrition Director is after the cooks have gone home for the day.  I know that my phone rings a lot less after the lunch meal is served and all the cooks have left for the day.

Try to schedule a time weekly when you and the Child Nutrition Director can meet and go over what is on the agenda.   The easiest way for that to happen is for you to go to their office and visit them.  However, it may give the director a chance to get out if you meet at a school garden site.  Talk it over with them.  It is extremely helpful to keep a calendar/schedule and compare meeting times and plans.  It is easy to get over booked and over obligated.

Keep the goals that the county has established in your thoughts.  It is easy to get distracted by something that looks interesting.   For example, we would love to have a couple of orchards here in Fayette County and have looked into that program a little, but it never got our full attention because it isn’t one of our goals.

Let the Child Nutrition Director know what your needs are and how they can help you.  They have a lot of resources and contacts and can point you in the right direction.

Some thoughts:

Know what is expected of you – clarify mutual expectations early

Keep the big picture in mind

Be low maintenance

Be dependable

No surprises

Don’t take constructive criticism personally

Remember your boss has a boss, rules to follow, people to please

Live by the Golden Rule

Most of the time you will be working on your own, you think, but people tell your boss good or bad things about you all the time.

David Seay, a retired Marine Corps Food Service Officer, loves his job feeding Fayette County Students healthy and Nutritious meals.  The Farm to School projects are his favorite part of the child nutrition program.  Farm to school is a win for the community, a win for the students and a win for the school system.  David has a BS Degree from the University of Maryland, a Masters Degree from Troy State University, a Teaching Certification from Marshall University Graduate College and Bible Training at Appalachian Bible College.

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