News Release

  6500 East Arapahoe Road, Boulder, CO 80301

For Immediate Release

Ann Cooper, 720-561-5042,

Melissa Rouse, United States Healthful Food Council, 808.960.4593,


BVSD Food Services earns REAL certification from United States Healthful Food Council

REALlogo-registered-278w.jpgBOULDER, CO: After undergoing an audit to determine its level of healthful and sustainable food service practices, Boulder Valley School District recently became the first public school district in the nation to be REAL Certified by the United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC). This prestigious certification is awarded to food and food service operators who stand out from others in the industry for their Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL):

RESPONSIBLE — provides nutritional benefit

EPICUREAN — preparation enhances food quality and experience

AGRICULTURAL — comes from the safest and highest food quality sources

LEADERSHIP — enables better choices

“We are honored and proud to be REAL Certified,” said Chef Ann Cooper, Director of BVSD Food Services. “The philosophy of the BVSD School Food Project is closely aligned with that of the USHFC, especially when it comes to teaching our children to eat and appreciate healthy food.”
The USHFC reported that BVSD excelled in the following areas:

  • Food preparation is exceptional, largely in-part because of focus on cooking in-house from scratch, use of only plant-based oils, and incorporation of healthy cooking practices.
  • Menu goes above and beyond USDA requirements – district does not offer juice in elementary schools, and only in vending machines at the middle and high schools, plus BVSD does not offer flavored milk.
  • A plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables are offered daily.

BVSD earned a particularly high score in the Leadership category – 95 percent of available points – in recognition of the following:

  • Plenty of water is available to students.
  • Healthy, vegetarian options are always available.
  • Use of sustainable trays, plates, cups, etc. is commendable.
  • Nice job participating in Meatless Mondays, having a school garden, and composting!
  • Great work offering so many nutrition programs!

(REAL Certification Scorecard and Report Summary for Boulder Valley School District, November 2016)
REAL Certification is a flexible, points-based metrics system. These metrics have been developed through input from a diverse panel of experts, across industry, academia, and government, as well as veteran chefs and restaurateurs. The comprehensive review process includes menu analysis, invoice and supply chain verification, interviews, and visual assessments of front and back of house operations. In order to receive certification, an establishment must meet a minimum total score of 50 percent or higher. Receiving the REAL Certification signals an organization’s commitment to fostering a healthier, more sustainable food environment for all stakeholders.
About the BVSD School Food Project
At the School Food Project, we believe that for kids to learn, think and be the best they can be, they have to eat well. Because of this, we are dedicated to improving the health of each student by providing healthy food and offering nutrition education programs to grow young bodies and minds. We serve fresh and nutritious food every day. This amounts to nearly 13,000 scratch-cooked meals each day! We use locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, and we avoid highly processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, dyes and food additives. Salad bars are offered daily at every school and are stocked with fresh, delicious and when possible, local farm fresh produce.
About United States Healthful Food Council
Established in 2012, the USHFC is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit, dedicated to fighting diet-related disease by realigning the food industry’s incentives with consumers’ health interests. The USHFC works towards its mission through the REAL Certified holistic nutrition and sustainability certification program. REAL Certified foodservice operators must satisfy prerequisites and earn sufficient points in the areas of Responsible (nutrition), Epicurean (preparation), Agricultural (sourcing) and Leadership (going above and beyond). More information can be found at

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