Retired Coast Guard Admirals Champion Healthy School Meals in New London Public Schools
Events at Local Schools and Coast Guard Academy Highlight Obesity as a National Security Issue
Three retired U.S. Coast Guard admirals visited Winthrop STEM Elementary Magnet School on February 28 to learn how New London (CT) Public Schools, in partnership with Brigaid, are transforming the way students eat. The Mission: Readiness members stated how impressed they were by the system they saw on the visit. Admiral (Ret.) James Loy, the U.S. Coast Guard’s 23rd Commandant, noted that New London Public Schools has established an innovative partnership model aimed at supporting student health.
“Students took pride in what they ate and embraced nutritious meals as a staple of a healthy life,” said Admiral Loy.
Brigaid was founded by Dan Giusti, the former head chef of one of the world’s top restaurants, Noma, in Copenhagen. Brigaid recruits professionally trained chefs to each lead a single school kitchen full-time with the goal of cooking delicious food from scratch. All of the meals are designed to meet the National School Lunch Program budgetary and nutritional guidelines.
“Brigaid’s partnership with New London Public Schools has been an incredible learning experience,” said Chef Giusti. “We now have six chefs in the six schools in New London working with the original kitchen staff to execute a scratch-cooked menu. In our first year, we served over 800,000 meals to students.”
In addition to the school visit, Admiral Loy, Vice Admiral (Ret.) Manson Brown, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Mary Landry, and Chef Giusti visited the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and led a panel discussion on the national security implications of obesity in America.
“Here in Connecticut and across the United States, more than one-third of children and adolescents are classified as being overweight or obese,“ said Vice Admiral Brown. "Further, obesity is now a leading medical disqualifier for military service. Our efforts to promote research-based solutions to these challenges aim to ensure that future generations of Americans have the same opportunities as the cadets we interacted with today.”
To close out the day, the admirals visited Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School Campus to participate in a dinner with students, parents, faculty, and community leaders.
“New London should be extremely proud of the collective efforts to promote healthy initiatives for youth across this special community,” said Rear Admiral Landry. “It’s imperative this work continue and I believe we all have a responsibility to lift up and support innovative efforts proven to improve health in America’s schools.”