During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful "lunch ladies." For the SNF Marketing 101 Course, I was also able to interview the Child Nutrition Director from Gooding, a farming community of 3,800 in southern Idaho. Few small town school nutrition directors have been included in a speech by the First Lady of the United States, but Anji Baumann has. That’s because Gooding Elementary was the first school in the nation to receive a Gold with Distinction Award from the HealthierUS School Challenge in April 2010. The honor was highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama, who praised Gooding’s nutrition program and Director Baumann in a national speech.
A few minutes is all it takes to see why new students in Gooding schools are told “you are going to love lunch here.” Anji bubbles with excitement as she describes their farm to school program, the second chance breakfast for high school students who don’t like to eat first thing in the morning, and the healthy habit commitments that classes made as part of their Fuel Up To Play 60 pilot program. As she says, “I eat, breathe, and sleep school lunch. I just love to tell people what we are doing.” With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder that Gooding, Idaho, got a Gold with Distinction.