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"Renegade Lunch Lady" to Visit Eugene for U.O. Symposium


This week, Chef Ann Cooper – also known as the “renegade lunch lady” – will headline a two day symposium in Eugene focused on schools and food.

Some of Chef Ann’s visit will be spent advising local organizations about how to work with districts to improve school lunch offerings.

Carrie Frazier, founder and board president of Kid Food Matters, says that instead of offering several entrée and side choices, schools can focus on quality by reducing quantity. Basically – kids tend to make unhealthy choices, so don’t give them any.

Frazier: “It may take awhile for the kids to get used to the changes but eventually, the kids will eat it. There’s a lot that you need to invest in that transition – you don’t just suddenly put out this new menu and expect kids to be excited about it. So, a lot of education and marketing has to go into this as well.”

Frazier says she’s seen this work in cities like Berkeley and Boulder.

On Thursday evening, Chef Ann will give a public talk about making large scale changes to school food service. The University of Oregon's Food Studies Program is hosting the symposium, which is free and open to the public. The talk begins at 7 pm at Lillis 282 on the U.O. campus.

Born and raised in Eugene, Anni started at KLCC in 2000 as a reporter and co-host of Northwest Passage. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Anni moved to New York City. She worked in education for several years before returning to her true love, journalism. Anni co-founded and co-hosted Dailysonic, a narrative-based news podcast. She interned at WNYC's On The Media, then becoming WNYC's assistant producer of Morning Edition.
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