The Gordon family table
Coming to Gordon this fall
below: an architect’s rendering of the new, professional kitchen being built in the Britt Nelson Dining Hall. This project was funded 100% by the generosity of several community members.
A shared vision
Gordon’s strategic vision calls on the school to “design a lunch program that fosters a resilient and sustainable local ecosystem by supporting local farmers and serving students fresh, healthy, delicious food.” This vision was developed by families, faculty, administrators, alumni and friends of the school as A More Just and Sustainable World in 2018.
Convenience for families
Gordon's strategic vision also asks the school to "design a flexible and integrated operating model that serves the needs of twenty-first century families, both during and beyond the traditional school day." A daily lunch program is a key part of meeting families’ needs; a spring 2022 survey to families confirmed that over 97% of our families believe that it’s important for Gordon to have a lunch program.
The Gordon Family Table begins this fall
This fall, Gordon will serve every student a fresh, nutritious lunch, prepared onsite and sourced whenever possible by local producers. The range of choices goes far beyond anything offered in the past: two hot entrées a day, sides, and a salad, soup and sandwich bar. One of the two entrées will always be vegetarian. For those children who need predictable staples served daily, the salad bar and the sandwich bar will provide consistency day-in and day-out. A sample menu preview is online at www.gordonschool.org/menu
How is this possible?
There were two critical steps making the new lunch program possible. First, Gordon was able to begin construction for a new professional kitchen in the Britt Nelson Dining Hall this summer, 100% funded by the generosity of several community members. Secondly, Gordon connected with SAGE Dining Services, who has committed to partnering with us to design a lunch program that meets our strategic vision and aligns with our core values.
What has the work been?
This plan has come out of a collaboration between Gordon leadership, members of the faculty, current and past parents and caregivers and the team from SAGE Dining. Beginning last September, community members were invited to engage through a review of the strategic vision, a series of lunch-focused Zooms and meetings, and a retreat in early January, as well as through a food committee that continues to participate in the lunch planning process. See here for a snapshot of that process as of last January. Gordon’s Leadership Team has been hard at work ironing out details: reviewing menus and taking field trips to local independent schools SAGE serves as well as articulating the expectations and logistics for how lunch will work each day in each division.
How will allergies and food safety be managed?
SAGE’s registered dietitians review every ingredient in their recipes and tag any menu item that contains one or more of the top twelve allergens: wheat, gluten, eggs, fish, milk, sesame, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard and sulfites. Parents can use the app to filter out options that have these allergens and preview safe choices with their child. SAGE will not serve peanut or tree nut products at Gordon or purchase items for Gordon manufactured in facilities with peanuts or tree nuts. SAGE managers and team members complete thorough food safety training and follow strict protocols for food storage, preparation, service, and cleanup.
What's the parent and caregiver’s role in this?
1. Encourage your child as they try something new.
2. Communicate if there are questions or concerns. The SAGE Dining app allows families to give feedback on the daily menus. For non-menu issues, Veronica Jutras is available at email@example.com to help direct your feedback and get answers.
3. Show grace in understanding that the process of feeding everyone in the school, every day, is a complex undertaking that will evolve as the year goes on.
Is that all?
Yes, it's really that simple. A key goal for this work was to simplify daily decisionmaking and school day preparations for families, and we're not asking you to do more than encourage your child, communicate questions and concerns, and show grace as the process evolves.
SAGE Dining’s Chef Rich Silvia will be Gordon’s dedicated full-time site manager. Families can introduce themselves to him at the Open Campus on Tuesday, September 5th, 9:30am to 11:30am.
As opening day of the new kitchen approaches, the Touch of SAGE app will be populated with Gordon’s menu, and you can...
- Get nutrition guidance on everything offered
- Explore the menu
- Filter allergens and eating patterns
- Highlight favorite menu items
- Give feedback
Menus are not be on the app currently but a menu preview is at www.gordonschool.org/menu
The lunch program is one pillar of a comprehensive schoolwide strategy for integrating sustainable agriculture, nutrition, justice
and community-building into the daily life of the school. For
examples of how this played out in the curriculum last year, see