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Gaps in California’s School Nutrition Services Staffing

California has invested heavily in the school food system in support of healthy and successful students, a resilient and climate-smart agricultural sector, and thriving economies. However, School Food Authorities are persistently underemployed, and recruiting and retaining labor continues to be a barrier to serving fresh, healthy meals for many school food programs. To understand this issue further, the Chef Ann Foundation and the California School Nutrition Association partnered with Food Insight Group to conduct a statewide survey of school nutrition services departments during the 2022–23 school year. Food service directors from 190 of California’s 1,018 School Food Authorities reported vacancy and turnover data along with their perspectives on staffing challenges and opportunities.

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