Commons to Implement Sustainable Food Program

Phillips Academy is starting to take steps toward making eating at Commons both healthier and more enjoyable. On November 11, School Nutritionist Aggie Kip, Sustainability Coordinator Rebecca Bogdanovitch and Head of Food Services Michael Gimapa met with John Turenne, the founder and President of Sustainable Food Services. Ms. Bogdanovitch invited John Turenne to discuss potential sustainable food programs that Commons could implement to offer superior and healthier food choices. Mr. Turenne has worked in the food service industry for over 25 years. He has been nationally recognized for designing and implementing different food projects at schools and businesses across the country, including Phillips Exeter Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall and Brown University. During his time working for the Aramark Corporation as the Executive Chef of Yale University, Mr. Turenne created the Yale Sustainable Food Project. The goal of the project was to educate Yale students and faculty about the importance of food in relation to the global economy, the environment, and personal health and culture. The program looks at the realities and challenges of eating conventional foods. Commons, like Yale, works with Aramark Corporation, a food service company for cafeteria catering. Recently, a group of Andover students and faculty traveled to Yale to get a first-hand glimpse of the effects of implementing a sustainable food program in a school. Mr. Giampa hopes to use Amarak’s familiarity with Yale’s program to help design one suitable for the PA community. “Amarak is very aware of sustainability in the future of food service, so Phillips Academy would really like to make it a part of it’s food program,” said Mr. Giampa when discussing the relationship between Phillips Academy and Aramark. Mr. Turenne also visited Science 500 (Environmental Science) and Biology 410 (Global Ecological Issues) classes during his visit to Andover. He discussed the significance of food production and its impact on our nutrition, economy, and environment. Mr. Turenne also met with various members of the Phillips Academy community in the Rose Room of Commons to informally discuss what specific kind of food project would be right for Andover. Ms. Kip hopes that establishing a sustainable food program at Andover will teach students the importance of what they are eating. She believes that it is a new way of looking at how we feed ourselves. After speaking with Mr. Turenne, Ms. Kip is sure that the programs will flourish at Phillips Academy. Mr. Giampa is currently researching different resources the school could use to help begin the project. One of the benefits of a sustainable food program is having mostly local ingredients, so Commons will need to make relationships with local farms. He believes that this would be a huge undertaking for the school, but that ultimately it will have a great impact on the Andover community. Mr. Giampa would like to ask the administration for the funding to hire John Turenne as a consultant on the project. Since the beginning of this school year, the Commons staff has also tried many other ways to improve the dining experience. They have “Just For You” menus, which give students healthy guidelines on what they should be eating. They have also posted nutritional facts above most of the meals being served. Commons will be adding other features to the list as the year goes on. After having had John Turenne visit and speak about his plans for an Andover Sustainable Food project, all of those involved in food service at Phillips Academy believe there is a promising future ahead for the food at Andover.