92°F
Sponsored by

Public Schools Bring Fresh Produce to Lunchroom

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield public schools are working toward a healthier lunch for three elementary schools after the district received a federal grant from the USDA.
They can actually see the farm, see where its planted, see where its grown, see how its produced and then how it gets to the table.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Eating three healthy meals a day, thats the rule of thumb when it comes to living a healthy life and research says starting it at an early age is key. Springfield public schools are doing their part to make sure students are getting at least two of those. A healthier lunch is being served in all schools and upgrades to that are coming for three elementary schools after the district received a federal grant from the USDA. 

When it comes to a quick lunch, many students turn to chips and other junk foods. Jean Grabeel, the coordinator of Health Services with Springfield Public School District, says their goal is for students to reach for fruits and vegetables instead. 

"If they're given the opportunity to taste that and develop a taste for it then they're going to be asking for that," says Grabeel.  

SPS was 1 of 30 school districts across the country to earn the Farm to School grant from the US Department of Agriculture. The $43,000 grant is a way to connect local farmers to the community. 

"They can actually see the farm, see where its planted, see where its grown, see how its produced and then how it gets to the table."

While the planning is in the early stages, SPS chose three schools to taste test the produce. Jeffries, Robberson and Rountree Elementary were those chosen. 

"They'll also be some different taste testings where students may be exposed to some healthy foods they would not come across with a traditional school lunch program," says David Martin, Rountree Elementary principal.

He says the healthy lunch shows when it comes to students behavior. 

"The students when they are bringing their lunches from home are bringing everything from broccoli to carrots with ranch dressing." Jean Grabeel says its more than just putting a healthy salad bar in the schools. 

"They'll be able to have some different choices and then we'll have some educational pieces for the students too like going on field trips like to the College of the Ozarks," explained Grabeel. 

She says its just the start but it can have a huge impact with helping childhood obesity. 

"This is a means for them to begin to understand where food comes from and what it means to have access to healthy food."

The school district hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the school year. There is no timetable set for when all the schools will have a salad bar. As for the produce that is chosen, that will depend on the season, what local farmers are able to harvest and if the distributor can deliver to the school districts.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus