When it comes to the food we serve our students, we believe in following three basic rules of thumb: Keep it real. Keep it healthy. Keep it local. That’s why we’re proud to offer a robust Farm to School program that strives to change the way kids think about food by teaching them where their food comes from and how it grows.
Our “Eat Real Food” Farm to School Program showcases Washington-grown fruits and vegetables on our school breakfast and lunch menus, teaching kids that fresh produce is not only good for them, it tastes great, too. Students develop a personal connection with their food and local farmers by participating in farm field trips, Chefs and Farmers in School Food Science events, and our Harvest of the Month program that allows students to sample a new Washington-grown fruit or vegetable each month and learn where and how it grows.
Across the nation there are over 2300 “farm-to-school” programs that are bringing more fresh, healthy, and locally-produced foods into school cafeterias, reinvigorating local and regional farm economies, and fostering lifelong healthy eating habits among children and their families.
With childhood obesity, diabetes, and other nutrition-related diseases on the rise, parents and educators want to see children eating more healthy foods. At the same time, small farms are struggling to survive. Farm-to-school programs address both of these community concerns. Farm-to-school can help:
Harvest of the Month introduces farm fresh produce to students in the Cheney School District through the school lunch program. This year, students will taste fresh fruits and vegetables including purple potatoes, kale, tops-on carrots, lentils, asparagus, apples, berries and more. Nutrition Services will continue to make new connections with local farmers and food producers to help expand the selection of local foods featured on our menus.
Here are some ways that you can share the Harvest of the Month experience:
One of the priorities of the Harvest of the Month program is to link the cafeteria with the classroom. Learning about new foods is a fun and safe way to encourage kids to try new things and changes the way they think about food and how it grows.
Each month cafeterias are provided with materials focusing on the featured local food item. Materials are then displayed on their Harvest of the Month display boards located in the cafeteria. The nutrition educator packet provides key information about the featured item as well as resources to further explore each fruit or vegetable. It incorporates hands-on activities, tools and ideas for open-ended exploration by students. The packet promotes mathematics, science, health, reading and gardening, all centered on the highlighted food. It is meant for teachers, but is appropriate for anyone teaching nutrition education to our students.