Long-time School Food Initiative Chef, Jessica Wright, Joins LiveWell Full-time

She shares, in this blog, her ongoing commitment to helping Colorado schools provide healthy meals for students.

I started with LiveWell Colorado as a Chef Consultant for the School Food Initiative (SFI) back in 2011. Although our model has shifted over the years, our focus has not. Our work provides districts with the skills they need to offer nourishing, from-scratch meals while creating a culture of health through whole foods. Through my time as a consultant, I played an integral role in training school food professionals on culinary skills and systems development. I also worked closely with our Chef Consultant team and Program Director to streamline the initiative to better align with district needs and the realities they face. Our program growth has given us the opportunity to not only change the food served in various districts but offer support to students and the entire school community, creating self-sustaining systems for improved school food.

At this time, I am very excited to join the LiveWell team as their first full-time Culinary Specialist! This new position allows me to provide more in-depth support to our districts while developing community relationships to support the hard work already being done on-site. I’ve hit the ground running with two new projects: One for the St. Vrain Valley School District and the other for Cooking up Healthy Options with Plants (CHOP), a program offered through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Additionally, there are a variety of other programs we are playing a role in— all while wrapping up our current cohort of eight districts, ensuring they continue to receive support.

As the program continues to evolve, 2018 is a pivotal year for SFI. Our work remains critical to Colorado’s school districts as we continue to provide access to healthy meals for students across the state. The ripple effect of these collaborative efforts is far-reaching, and witnessing entire communities embrace healthy school meals and work to break down barriers to healthy eating in their neighborhoods is humbling. I continue to be inspired by those we serve and look forward to playing a larger role in creating systemic changes to the food system.