Thursday, September 02, 2010 was an exciting day at Morley Nelson Elementary School. The school was chosen to host the Farm to School Kick Off Event for the Boise School District.
The Farm to School program is a joint effort between the Idaho Department of Agriculture and the child nutrition division of the Idaho Department of Education. It provides schools with locally grown fruits, veggies, and meats to serve at lunch time meals.
The fourth grade class at Morley Nelson got to be first in line to enjoy new lunches featuring locally grown foods. They had fish burgers made with Idaho rainbow trout from Clear Springs Foods in Hagerman. There was also corn, cantaloupe, tomatoes, salads, and lots more!
The anxious kids waited in line to have their turn at tasting the new healthy options available to them.
Jose Catalan said he thought the new foods tasted “extra yummy” and was excited to see what tomorrow’s lunch will have.
Leslie Encinas said, “My dad’s a farmer and I think some of the corn came from our fields!”
Kim Peterson of the Department of Agriculture explained, “This is just the start of a great way to support the local economies and to get kids eating healthier. All Boise schools will participate in September because it is Idaho preferred month since it’s harvest time. During September the local schools will offer a variety of local foods for students at all grade levels. Then for the remaining months of the school year, each school will offer at least one kind of local product each week.”
She went on to say, “This will make it so much easier for kids to make good eating choices and feel connected to their local communities.”
After all the kids had sat down and begun to eat their lunches, they got to hear from Idaho’s First Lady, Lori Otter.
Mrs. Otter started off by telling the kids, “You are what you eat.” To which they all laughed and began saying “I’m a burger” and “I’m a cantaloupe.”
She asked the students if any of them had gardens in their backyards and several raised their hands and shouted “I do!”
She went on to say, “Well farmers grow gardens just like you. They just have bigger backyards. And they want you to all grow up and be big and strong so they are giving you nutritious foods to enjoy at lunch time.”
After her speech, she went through the line and sampled some of the foods provided by the local farmers. After getting her meal, she sat down with the students and talked to them about the importance of working hard at school.
Peggy Bodnar, the supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services for the Boise School District told a funny story. She explained how they had snap peas available for lunch the other day. One student asked her if she had to eat the funny seeds inside it.
“It’s so sad that kids don’t have any idea that peas don’t come from the freezer or the microwave or a can. They actually come from a plant and are quite delicious,” said Bodnar.
*Farm to School is a national program that connects kindergarten through twelfth grade schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
*More information can be found at http://farmtoschool.org/