2012 Golden Carrot Award Winners

The Physicians Committee

2012 Golden Carrot Award Winners

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has named the following winner and runners-up in the 2012 Golden Carrot Awards. A cash prize to benefit the food service programs accompanies the award for the winner and runners-up. The winner receives $3,000 and the runners-up receive $750.

PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM looks for programs that encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and that offers plenty of vegetarian, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options.


Jean Ronnei, Nutrition Services DirectorSaint Paul Public Schools
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Jean Ronnei, Nutrition Services Director

Jean Ronnei, nutrition services director at Saint Paul Public Schools, will earn the grand prize for her creative food service program in Saint Paul, Minn. PCRM will give $3,000 to Ms. Ronnei and Saint Paul Public Schools to benefit the district’s popular food service program. Saint Paul’s no longer uses deep fryers and offers unlimited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy Hits, a cost-friendly program, ensures students receive delicious, nutrient-packed meals, including black bean and edamame salad, Moroccan rice, and whole-grain pasta with marinara sauce.


Ken Higgins, Director of Dining Services at ChartwellsSpartanburg District Seven
Spartanburg, S.C.
Ken Higgins, Director of Dining Services at Chartwells

On behalf of Spartanburg District Seven, Ken Higgins, director of dining services at Chartwells, will receive a $750 runner-up award to support a popular pilot program at Jesse Boyd Elementary in Spartanburg, S.C. Student favorites include peanut butter banana dogs, vegetarian chili, and hummus with whole grain tortilla chips and fresh vegetables. The pilot program at Jesse Boyd Elementary expands to Cleveland Academy this year. The programs ensure students receive nondairy beverage options at no extra cost.

Miguel Villarreal, Director of Food and Nutrition ServicesNovato Public School District
Novato, Calif.
Miguel Villarreal, Director of Food and Nutrition Services

Miguel Villarreal, director of food and nutrition services at Novato Public School District, will receive a $750 runner-up award to benefit the district’s food service program in Novato, Calif. Mr. Villarreal eliminated red meat, soda, and most processed foods at the school several years ago. He uses the cost-savings from unhealthful foods to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Popular menu items include veggie burgers with cucumber coins, fresh salads with pita chips, and sun butter sandwiches.

Sand Path Academy
San Francisco
Chef Barry and Jennifer Jones Horton, Culinary Teachers

Chef Barry and Jennifer Jones Horton, culinary teachers at Sand Path Academy in San Francisco, will receive a $750 runner-up award to benefit the charter school’s food service program. The all-vegan menu includes black bean and veggie wraps, spicy barbecue tofu with braised kale, and Ethiopian platters filled with hummus, whole grain bread, and diced eggplant salad. Students learn about food safety, culinary techniques, and how to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables.

Honorable Mention

Memphis City Schools
Memphis, Tenn.

Vegetarian options are offered every day at Memphis City Schools, which participates in the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that gives students the opportunity to try a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as asparagus and mangoes, which may not otherwise be offered through the cafeteria.

Greeneville County Schools
Greeneville, S.C.

Greeneville County Schools was a Golden Carrot runner-up last year. Vegetarian options are offered daily, and vegan entrées include Black Bean Tacos, Hummus Plate, and Black Bean Burgers. Eleven schools have organic gardens.

District of Columbia Public Schools
Washington, D.C.

Vegetarian options are available every day at District of Columbia Public Schools. There are reimbursable salad bars with foods such as tofu and kale in 10 schools. Nonreimbursable salad bars are available in 16 schools. Thirty-five percent of produce is local, 75 percent of grain products must be whole grains, and there are no fried foods.