Stacey Black and Toña Aguilar

In the spring of 2011, Eugene School District 4J announced that it would no longer serve lunches in its four charter schools. It was a golden opportunity for Stacey Black and Toña Aguilar, parents at the Waldorf-inspired Village School and members of the Eugene Coalition for Better School Lunches, a group that lobbies for changes to mass-produced meals. “My husband said, ‘Now’s your chance,’” Black reports. “I asked Toña if she’d like to write up a proposal. We had the summer to plan.” The pair studied national school lunch requirements, made lists of kitchen supplies they would need, and started a “can you help” campaign around town. When the Village School opened last fall, they were ready with the Village Kitchen, featuring a menu based on local organic foods and prepared fresh daily. “I’ve always loved to cook,” says Aguilar, who worked as a chef while in school at UO and started a catering business. The two moms share one full-time position as school lunch ladies and rely on a small army of volunteers to help get things done. They serve double the number of lunches as last year, and make enough money for the school to hire a kitchen assistant. “We’re having so much fun,” says Black, “and, hopefully, turning some heads in the district.”