Pearls In Our Past - Hartford MI A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan





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Former Hartford Graduate
Known as Lunch lady for Michigan

by Andrew Lerston

Diann [Banic] Tosh

Lunch lady for Michigan

Haven schools food service director, Diann Tosh, was recently named president of the School Nutrition Association of Michigan. She has been working in school food service for nearly 25 years. She recently spoke with Staff Writer Andrew Lersten.
Diann Banic Tosh-named president of School Nutrition Assoc of Michigan.
So what was it like having (former President) Bill Clinton talk at your national convention?

It was very, v
ery cool.

Did he talk about his notorious Big Mac habit?

     He talked a little about that, and his work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. They were instrumental in getting pop taken out of schools.

Do you think that was a good idea?

Oh, yeah. They needed that for a long time. We dont sell it, but they can bring it. Theres no way you can stop them from bringing a lunch from home.

Are school food service rules still moving in the direction of healthier foods?

Oh, my goodness. Last year (President) Obama signed the Healthy, HungryFree Kids Act. Its going to cost us a lot more money but its going to follow the new guidelines. It almost doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables required every day, and restricts starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas to one cup a week.

     I appreciate what theyre trying to do. But the question is, when mom and dad arent there, will the kids actually eat it? Or will much of it just end up in the garbage?

     We can encourage it. But it is an uphill fight. One of the other requirements (in the new law) is that we will have to do away with chocolate milk. Skim chocolate is allowed, but none of the dairies even make that. We always have white milk available, but 75 percent of the kids, maybe more, always pick chocolate milk.

Tell me about the efforts to get more locally grown fruits and vegetables into the schools.

We are looking at ways to bring the farmers together with the schools. But you need to buy stuff in the summer and preserve them. You cant hold on to fresh produce, so the question is storage during the winter months. Theres nothing fresh around here in the winter.

Also, I bet its hard to control costs, because its all market driven.

Yes. We need to find the middle ground. I cant afford to pay what they charge at the farmers markets.

So the challenge of your job is finding the middle ground between these great ideas and the reality of market forces and other factors.

And, especially, what the kids will eat. Thats what it really comes down to.

     The good news is that America has lots of plentiful, affordable food. The bad news is that a lot of it is over processed food. Were hoping we can make some progress with this.

Have you crunched the numbers and ever calculated how many meals youve overseen in your career?

I can tell you how many we did this year. It was amazing. We did 100,360 breakfasts and 255,1623 lunches.

Diann Banic Tosh is a 1969 Hartford High School graduate.

Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 

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A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 20, 2014