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Should your school serve local food?

The Guardian – Nicola Slawson

“At a state school in Harrogate, Steve Ashburn is busy serving 950 lunches to hungry children – using ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The menu is impressive. Options include Easingword pork escalopes, stuffed with leek and Wensleydale cheese, followed by Wakefield rhubarb possett for dessert. As a foodie and proud Yorkshire man, Ashburn is a strong advocate for creating seasonal menus using quality ingredients, and putting as much business through local producers as he can. Within weeks of Rossett school hiring him, the former restaurant chef had set about changing how the children ate, by sourcing ingredients for school meals from his former restaurant suppliers.”(more)

Inside the schools with edible playgrounds

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“How can we get children to eat more vegetables? There’s no shortage of advice on the matter, varying from “serve them with unpopular foods” to “act more like French people” or “just give up”. But schools are discovering that getting students to grow their own greens can make a big difference. This hands-on method is so powerful, in fact, that it can even detoxify the dinner table nemesis of generations: the brussel sprout…Edible playgrounds are springing up across the country and address several key areas of concern around children’s health. They teach pupils about nutrition, encourage physical activity, and can help with food poverty.”(more)

How schools in Brazil are teaching kids to eat their vegetables

PRI – Rhitu Chatterjee

“On a hilly slope in São Paulo City, a group of sixth graders is busy at work. They’re armed with seeds, soil and a range of gardening tools. Upside-down soda bottles, filled with water, outline a series of rectangular garden plots. A boy named Felipy Pigato tells me they are preparing the soil for planting…The vegetables they grow are used in school meals. But the real aim of the school garden is not to supply ingredients, he says, but to teach students where food comes from, so they can develop a connection to their food…Just like in the US, highly processed foods like fast food, soda, and high-fructose corn syrup have become all too popular here in Brazil. And obesity rates are rising, even among children. It is a nation-wide problem that has alarmed the government and public health experts in the country.”(more)

School Gardens for Beginners: Advice from Common Ground’s Jill Keating Herbst

Education World – Keith Lambert

“School garden programs are on the rise: certainly a growing trend! Teachers and academic communities across the globe are capitalizing upon the hands-on experience, curricular connections, and natural engagement these projects can inspire in students. However, to the agricultural novice and green thumb alike, the idea of initiating such an endeavor can certainly feel daunting.”(more)

Introducing fresh vegetables to school menus could soon get easier for Louisiana schools with this new program

The Advocate – AMY WOLD

“Nine-year-old Jamie Nava took a glance at his lunch at Dufrocq Elementary School Tuesday and thought it included some funny-looking eggplant, but on closer inspection, he realized it was sweet potatoes — not from a can but freshly roasted from the oven with a little bit of sugar on top. Proudly wearing a sticker saying he had tried the sweet potato, Jamie said he liked it. It’s the kind of reaction LSU Agricultural Center staff have been working toward during the first year of a pilot project called Harvest of the Month to test how to get fresh fruits and vegetables into school lunches. Starting with just three schools, Dufrocq, Andrew H. Wilson Charter School in New Orleans and North Bayou Rapides Elementary School in Alexandria, the pilot program has run its course in East Baton Rouge Parish. However, it appears to have paved the way for schools next year to get a choice on whether fresh sweet potatoes will be on the menu. Ann Savage, extension associate with LSU Agricultural Center who has been running the program, said the school system plans to put sweet potatoes on the bid list each month, and individual schools can choose whether to serve fresh or canned.”(more)

Math in the Garden

The Atlantic – Nadra Kareem Nittle

“As class got under way on a recent fall morning, the first-graders Jessica Brimley teaches at Los Cerritos Elementary in Long Beach, California, still hadn’t mastered the concept of estimation. When Brimley told the children they’d be using the technique, a boy’s hand shot up to ask for a definition. But Brimley wasn’t just going to give him the answer or point him to a dictionary. Instead, she used nature to demonstrate; after all, her classroom isn’t indoors, but in the school’s 48,000 square-foot garden, an approach teachers at Los Cerritos and elsewhere are using more and more to engage students…Los Cerritos teachers use the Urban Farmyard to teach math, science, history, and language arts—all, unsurprisingly, with an environmental bent.”(more)