Porterville brings back cafeteria food show for students

Porterville Unified School District hosts their second annual Student Food Show, showcasing different food options for students to add to their school lunch menus

PORTERVILLE – Students in Porterville will once again have the opportunity to choose what they want to eat for their school lunches at the student food show.

Porterville Unified School District (PUSD) will be hosting their Second Annual Student Food Show on April 6. This show hosts food vendors from all across California to come in and provide samples for students in the Porterville school district. It allows students to sample and vote on which items they would like added or not added to their lunch menus. This year the district will be hosting about 30 vendors and will be bussing in over 300 students to the show. Paul Alderete, assistant director of food serviced for PUSD said they are excited for this year as they are able to build off of the success they had last year.

“The majority of the items that were selected last year were added into this year’s menu,” Alderete said.  “As long as it’s within our control, if the students’ vote that [an item] should be added to the menu, then we’ll go ahead and do that.”

The food show will be taking place at the Porterville Military Academy’s gymnasium. With over 30 vendors, students will have several options to choose from. Students will have the opportunity to sample the wide variety of food and vote on what they want to have on their school menus next year. The district will bus in students from the elementary, middle and high school levels. According to Alderete, each level will have their own amount of time with the vendors allowing time for three miniature food shows.

Last year the district was able to bring in almost all the food students voted on. However there were a few logistical issues that prevented a few vendors from supplying the schools.

“We did have some production issues with vendors not being able to produce the food that they showed at the Food Show, so those items obviously weren’t added,” Alderete said.

The students who participate in the food shows are chosen by each site’s principal. These students could be involved in any variety of activities on campus whether that be leadership or accelerated readers. Additionally Alderete said students from each of Porterville’s pathways will be helping out with the show.

Students from the culinary pathway will be helping with vendor set up and will also be helping some vendors cook and present food to students. There will be students from the hospitality pathway helping students fill out their surveys and maneuver throughout the event. And cadets from the military academy will be helping sign students in, make sure students clean up after themselves and help run the event in general.

The district learned a lot last year and Alderete said they have improved the event in more ways than one. They have made technological improvements to the surveys and have done a better job advertising for the event this year. Not to mention the growth in vendor presence.

“We’re still in the trenches of the planning process. So we’ve been going at it trying to get everything situated, to make sure the kids have a great show,” Alderete said.

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