Fresh School Garden Produce Inspires New Menu Options

As the harvest season comes to an end and Farm to School Month approaches, Southampton Union Free School District (NY) school gardens final crops are producing  various squash and pumpkins for school meals. To ensure her students have access to healthy, fresh ingredients and nutritious new menu options throughout the whole school year, district Food Service Director Regan Kiembock works with a number of local farmers as well.21192762_1863359707014577_4104292490504018530_n

The district’s impressive garden is organized by the Southampton School Garden Committee and is funded through a number of grants. Since produce is regularly used in school meals, funds are set aside from the school lunch fund to buy supplies as needed. Nearby Cornell Cooperative Extension also helps support the gardening efforts with free seeds in the spring. Items grown in the school garden include a wide variety of lettuce, along with asparagus, onions, squashes, pumpkins, raspberries, kale, peas, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, beets and carrots. Read more…

Whole Grain Rich Options Abound in Schools

Whole grains are on school lunch trays to stay, according to School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) recent survey of school meal programs nationwide. When USDA regulations pertaining to whole grains in school meals took effect to add more menu planning flexibilities in July, some were worried about what this would mean for the whole grains in cafeterias across the country. However,  over 90 percent responding to the survey indicated that their school districts will exceed federal whole grain requirements.

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October Brings Local Taste To Washington Schools

A perfect kick-off to Farm to School Month, Highline Public Schools (WA) celebrated Taste Washington Day on Wednesday, October 3, featuring locally sourced foods on the menu and cafeteria visits from farmers and producers across the state.

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Guests for “Taste of Washington Day” included local farmers, local celebrities, nutrition professionals from Highline Public Schools and representatives from the Washington Department of Agriculture, Washington School Nutrition Association and FEEST Seattle.

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Student Farmers Contribute to Success of Healthy School Meals

One Wisconsin school district is taking Farm to School to the next level! With the help of school nutrition professionals, science and math teachers and the Future Farmers of America, students in the School District of Holmen have helped raise their own chickens, grow their own crops on donated land and harvest from hydroponic greenhouses. At the helm of each project, Nutrition Services Supervisor Michael Gasper has helped organize Holmen’s Farm to School program into the great success it is today. In addition to student-grown and raised foods, he also selects produce and meats from local Wisconsin farms for school menus. Read more…

“There are so many choices!”

“Wow – school lunch didn’t look like this when I was in school!”

Statements like these are made by parents and caregivers across the country when they step back into the school cafeteria for the first time. Since federal nutrition guidelines have taken effect, changes to menus have brought more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and reduced sodium and calories in meals. Read more…