EATS Park City teams with Film Series and offers ‘Lunch Love Community’ | ParkRecord.com

EATS Park City teams with Film Series and offers ‘Lunch Love Community’

The Park City Film Series and EATS Park City will partner for the a screening Helen De MichielÕs documentary ÒLove Lunch CommunityÓ at the Jim Santy Auditorium on Thursday. The film is about school lunch reforms in Berkeley, California, and some aspects parallel what EATS Park City and the Park City School District are doing to develop healthy eating habits in students. (Lovelunchcommunity.org)

The Park City Film Series’ Reel Community Series and EATS Park City will serve up a free and thoughtful night of screening selections of Helen De Michiel’s "Lunch Love Community" Thursday night.

EATS Park City is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure every student in the Park City School District has access to fresh, nutritious, appealing food and opportunities to develop lifelong positive and healthy food habits.

"A big supporter of EATS sent [the film] to us and asked if we had seen it," said Ann Bloomquist, EATS president and co-founder. "It’s really inspiring and engaging."

The film, which is comprised of a series of short films, is about what the Berkeley School District in California has done to not only improve their school lunches, but how it’s educated the students, their families and the surrounding community, according to EATS Vice President Courtney Caplan.

"The film also spotlights some of the programs including the school gardens, which Berkeley has been an amazing pioneer, and cooking classes, which we also do here," Caplan said. "We also do taste tests on a monthly basis to introduce the kids to new and different foods."

This isn’t the first time EATS Park City has worked with the Park City Film Series, according to Executive Director Katharine Wang.

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"We screened a film called ‘Cafeteria Man’ with them a few years ago," Wang said. "The film is about a man who is reforming the school lunch program in Baltimore, and we always wanted to come back and do something again.

"We looked at [‘Lunch Love Community’] together and what I loved was that these are all little vignettes that touch upon different aspects of the program, everything from teaching kids to cook the food, looking at nutritional values of the food and how the parents got involved," Wang said. "Also the films show that this is not an elitist movement. The vignettes do a great job showing how hard the parents worked to get the program started and how the community and school superintendent helped move it along."

The film also shows how the some of the community’s cyics could be turned into supporters.

"Interestingly, the school superintendent at Berkeley was not a proponent of the program when it started and she was skeptical about making it happen," Bloomquist said. "But she has done a 180-degree turn around and has said this can be done anywhere as long as there is passion and commitment on the part of the school district and the community."

In the Park City School District, EATS Park City has also made some tremendous strides in its mission.

It already offers monthly taste tests in all Park City School District elementary schools, middle school and junior high, and is working on establishing some additional gardens that will grow the food that will be served at the schools, according to Bloomquist.

"At the end of the school year, we will have indoor tower gardens in five schools and currently have two outdoor gardens," she said. "We are looking to put another outdoor garden at McPolin Elementary if we can get the funding."

EATS Park City also completed its second after-school cooking program at Parleys Park thanks to Vail’s Epic Promise grant, Bloomquist said.

Still, these programs are only half of EATS’ mission.

"The other half is to make sure the school food that is being served matches what we’re teaching the kids," she said.

That’s where the Hungry for Healthy campaign comes in, Caplan said.

"The campaign asks for several things to be removed from school lunches," she said.

The list includes high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, hormones and antibiotics in beef, trans fats, hydrogenated oils and bleached flour.

"It’s going to take some creativity to get these out of the school foods, but some of the things, including trans fats, are already on their way out," Caplan said.

EATS Park City approached the Park City District board and asked if it could start some of the food reforms, Bloomquist said.

"The board was on board and are putting together a three-year business plan to get this done," she said. "They are putting together a task force to help put the plan together, and I think this movie is something that would be great for the task force to see. It shows the vision."

Caplan agrees and encouraged the community to attend the screening.

"I also think the community should see this film because the community, since EATS Park City’s inception, has rallied behind what we are doing," she said.

Immediately following the screenings, EATS Park City will present a panel discussion featuring local school, food and health experts.

Panel members are Park City School District Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Einhorn, nutrition expert Kate Geagan, MS RDN, Park City School District Board Member Phil Kaplan, Deer Valley Resorts Director of Food and Beverage Jodie Rogers and EATS Park City President and Co-Founder Ann Bloomquist.

"What we try to do with the Reel Community Series is bring everything back to our own community," Wang said. "We have our own experts."

The panel will point families and community members to resources that will help students get access to better foods.

"Our position is that all kids, not just the kids in families who can afford this, should have the option to have this good, nutritious, quality-ingredient food," Bloomquist said. "If we put food in our schools for kids, it should be for everybody."

"There is evidence that kids will learn better, perform better both physically and academically, if they are nourished properly," Caplan said.

The Park City Film Series’ Reel Community Series will present a free screening of Helen De Michiel’s "Lunch Love Community," not rated, at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com .