Napa’s Operative for School Food Health

What is Nosh?

Napa’s Operative for School Food Health (NOSH) is the first self-operating food service program at Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) in over 32 years. Transitioning from an outside food service vendor just about a year ago, the program takes a “cooking from scratch” approach to preparing food and introduces new, fresh recipes to students. The program dedicates itself to serving healthy options for breakfast and lunch, so that all NVUSD students have access to fresh, sustainable, whole food.

Currently, the program operates on a limited menu, serving two items per day, including a vegetarian option. It also hosts a daily salad bar, 97% of which is locally grown or sourced within California. To reinforce eating healthy food, the program does not serve foods containing high fructose corn syrup, or large amounts of sugar. NOSH also sources locally processed, hormone and antibiotic free, proteins and has removed single packaged items from the menu to reduce waste and be more sustainable. As NOSH continues to grow and expand its menu, the program will open its Central Kitchen later this year, a place where the quality food will be stored, prepared, and additional food services will be provided.

Getting Students and Parents Involved

For NOSH to be successful, students need to eat the food being served, which is not always the food that kids want to eat. NOSH aims to bridge this gap with the Harvest Month Program, which hosts tastings of fruits and vegetables each month for students to try. Additionally, it hosts “Rainbow Days” and encourages students to try foods of different colors, receiving fun prizes for doing so.

Parents are also encouraged to be involved with NOSH. The district has a School Food Parent Advisory Committee that meets regularly and has Spanish translators for non-English speaking parents. This committee updates parents on the program’s plans and they in turn provide feedback. Additionally, schools in the district host barbeques and invite parents to eat the food their children eat. This not only helps parents stay more involved, but also helps them set an example for their children and builds a sense of community.

Access for all students

NOSH aims to provide the healthiest, freshest food possible to all students in the district, especially those that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. NVUSD has a 52% free and reduced school lunch population which continues to grow. There are also four Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) areas in the district that qualify for free breakfast and lunch options to enrolled students due to low-income status without collecting household applications.

Get Involved

NOSH is working to ensure that all NVUSD students have access to nutritious, fresh food. The program is expanding its menu, process, and space, but it needs the continued support of students and parents to keep going! If your child goes to a school in NVUSD, learn more about NOSH and explore yummy daily menu items that your kids will enjoy!