Inclusive Work Environment: Making it Real

Creating an inclusive work environment requires more than a statement of commitment. In this thought provoking keynote, learn how to bring greater clarity, action and impact to your organizational diversity and inclusion efforts by making inclusion an active practice. This session introduces you to that practice. Anchored in a practical model of what inclusion is, Joe will introduce you to a set of competencies and commitments to ensure that your team is, in fact, inclusive. You will leave this session with work to do and tools to use, things that you can act on immediately.

Joe Gerstandt

Speaker, Author, Advisor


Bridging the Gap Between Food and Student- “What I cook can impact your life”

Do you have childhood memories of eating a favorite food? Maybe you remember how you eagerly anticipated ending each holiday meal with your grandmother's sensational Peach Cobbler? Or how your Dad made Saturday mornings extra special by serving up his famous banana and whip cream pancakes? Food is an important part of cultural heritage and national identity. It can connect us to people and places, bringing friends and families together, and food habit, such as whether you should eat all the food on your plate, vary across the world. If you stop and think about it, you probably associate some of your favorite foods with family memories.  Well, guess what! The students that you feed each and every day associate the food they eat at school with you.

Chef Jernard Wells

Award Winning Celebrity Chef/Host


Branding your School Nutrition Program

Do you need help developing a brand and finding your brand story? This speaker will help you discover your brand voice, colors, logo and overall brand identity. Staff members are brand ambassadors for your brand. Staff will learn what they can do in their kitchens and cafeterias to get your foodservice brand in front of students.


Breanna Gustafson


Communication Breakdown

With how easy it is to communicate in today's digital world, communication should be a breeze right? Wrong! Many of the issues within organizations stem from poor communication. As unique individuals, our communication style, preferred mode of communication, listening ability, and learning style affect the communication around us. When miscommunication and misunderstanding occur, it is easy to play the blame game. Instead, we should be playing the understanding game. Where did things go wrong? How can we prevent these things from happening again? Join this session to better understand yourself as a communicator, how to effectively communicate with those around you, and how to move forward after a communication breakdown.

Stefanie Giannini, MA, SNS

Owner, IVATI


Fighting Menu Fatigue

This session will discuss menu challenges of FSD’s around the country regarding the following: 1. COVID challenges to menu offerings: Delivered vs. In School; Grab & Go meal fatigue for Hybrid students; Planning for the new school year. 2. Solution opportunities to address national menu fatigue challenges: menu pairing of protein, vegetables with sauce offerings; Cost Impact vs. Participation; Serving condiments safely (removal of multi-touch condiment stations). Upon the conclusion of this session, the attendees will be able to: Gain an understanding of the correlation between multiple condiment flavor choices and student participation; Learn how their peers around the nation plan to safely serve condiments post COVID with removal of multi touch condiment stations; Gain new ideas to pair sauces/condiment flavors with commonly offered menu items to increase student participation.


Renate Durham

Segment Leader-Education, Diamond Crystal Brands, Inc.


Growing Resilience: The Future of Farm to School in 30 Minutes

In January 2020, American Farmland Trust through Farm to Institution New York State, released the “Growing Opportunity for Farm to School in New York” report, which found that with the right support, this program would incentivize over 70% of schools to spend more of their food dollars on products from New York farms. This sparked policy debates about what that right support should be, which necessitated further research—particularly around how to add other school meals to this program. This subsequent research, conducted by AFT during the summer of 2020, sought to collect new information from schools after year two of the incentive program, including clarifying remaining barriers schools face in purchasing New York food products and reaching 30%, as well as the impact COVID-19 may have on farm to school in New York. Published in December 2020, Growing Resilience: Unlocking the Potential of Farm to School to Strengthen the Economy, Support New York Farms, and Improve Student Health in the Face of New Challenges, presents these findings and encourages action by state and local governments to achieve the full economic and public health potential of this and other farm to school programs in New York to build back better. This session will provide a high-level overview of the report’s findings and recommendations for food service directors and staff.


Mikaela Ruiz-Ramón

New York Policy Coordinator, FINYS / American Farmland Trust


Knife Skills

Learn how to use a kitchen knife correctly and which knife to use in which application. Learn proper ways to cut onions, peppers and more!


Josh Diekman, CEC, CCA

Corporate Executive Chef/ Culinary Sales Manager, Land O’Lakes, Inc.


Make Your Mark on Your District & Be the Voice of Your Program

For new Directors or Leaders in Child Nutrition, following behind a school legacy or a current Director looking for ways to bring some shine to your program. Don’t wait for your program to be noticed. Make people notice your program. Speak about your staff and program with the pride and recognition it deserves. How to respond to the negative connotations about the “lunch lady” and “food service”. The speaker for this workshop was a new Director following behind a veteran Director with 28 years in the district. New Director, personality and vision can be challenging for all. The speaker will share her experience and what worked to make a positive impact during a pandemic school year.


Ruth Conner

 Supervisor of Child Nutrition, Buffalo City School District


Record Maintenance

This session will review maintenance of records for the Child Nutrition Programs.  Production records, product formulation statements, and record retention timeframes are some of the topics that will be discussed.


New York State Education Department


Sauté All Day: Virtual Cooking Demo

 Chef Jenard Wells will conduct a virtual cooking demonstration using, kid-tested and approved quick, easy grab and go recipes that will work for all serving models. Attendees can incorporate these recipes into their meal services, which can lead to increased meal participation, while also continuing to feed our students, families and communities.

Sponsored by 

Chef Jernard Wells

Award Winning Celebrity Chef/Host


School Nutrition Finance: A Different Approach to Budgets, Projections, and High Impact Decisions

Not every school nutrition program is required to have a budget, so many times this concept gets forgotten or put on the "someday to do" list. Budgeting does not have to be a difficult process and this course will provide ideas and tools to help districts get started, while help other districts refine their processes. It's not all about cutting expenses or raising revenue. Understanding the relationship between the two is the key to a successful (financial) school nutrition program. Upon the conclusion of this session, the attendees will be able to: Understand the value of and learn methods to create a school nutrition department budget; Understand how to apply future projections to a current budget; Learn how real-time decisions can change short and long term outcomes; Knowledge is power - and not every decision has to be time consuming; Learn key decisions that can have major impact.


Lindsey Hill, RD, SNS

Director of Nutrition Services, South Madison Community School Corporation


Understanding Your Customer

This session will be led be a student panel to discuss the realities they are currently facing. The students will have an opportunity to share their school realities and how we can make school lunch fun again. We will dive into conversation about how to get meals remotely as well as the effects of COVID-19 on school lunch a in a positive way.

Sponsored by


NYS Student Panel


Yoga in Any Space (Chair Yoga)

This workshop will offer the benefits of yoga in a safe approachable way. Most yoga we are exposed to can seem very intimidating and unattainable, when in reality some mindful stretching with attention on the breath is all you need. Tools to help relieve lower back, hip and neck pain etc. will be offered and taught for you to use during your workday and after. Everything we do can be done from sitting on a chair and/or standing. No flexibility required... just humans wanting to feel better. Presentation Elements: Instructor will explain the benefits of each movement & technique, demonstrate the proper form followed by voluntary participation by attendees. Upon the conclusion of this session, the attendees will be able to: Learn basic stretches, breathing techniques and how to safely practice yoga from a chair or a standing position; Begin to understand structural, physiological, and performance effects of yoga; Improve physical fitness and mental wellbeing through yoga; Guidance on developing a personal practice outside of this one time workshop.


Elizabeth Coffey, E-RYT 500

Yoga Instructor,  Be Healthy Institute

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