In Jefferson County, Colorado, a better school lunch often starts with better chicken: locally and sustainably grown, without antibiotics, and prepared from scratch. In the world of K-12 food service, this is widely regarded as an Olympian swan dive off a 33-foot-high board–beautiful to behold, but not something you can or should try at home. Today’s guests on Inside School Food explain how they do it (turns out it’s not that hard, if you’ve got ovens and the right supplier), and how their effort impacts student health. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn.

“It’s easy for us to sell whole birds, it’s easy for us to sell chicken breast – but when we’re parting the birds out, we often end up with dark meat as a byproduct. We usually just end up selling that as a commodity product into the marketplace and we’re not able to get a premium price for it even though it’s a premium product. We’re able to sell it into the school districts and supply them with a premium product because of how we raise those birds. That allows them to sell a meal at a very price conscious point – then we know those kids are able to eat a quality meat, schools are able to meet their budget and we even end up with some marketing out of that.” [24:00]

–Chad Anderson on Inside School Food