Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012 by Megan

Connecting to the World of School Food

With close to 200 schools and preschools on FoodHub and more than 2,500 thriving Farm to School programs nationwide, it’s safe to say that school food is changing for the better. But, in case you had any lingering doubts that kids will actually eat their vegetables, take a look at some examples of school meals in the rest of the world!

A whole artichoke served for lunch in France, juicy fresh tomato halves and smoked mackerel in Slovakia, a multi-course meal (for school lunch!) made up of organic, local ingredients in Italy? Yes, please!

There’s no doubt in our minds that kids will eat their veggies, and school lunches around the world seem to reflect the same. However, quality ingredients accompanied by food systems education is key: When fresh, local foods get paired with a lesson about where food comes from and how it is grown, we create engaged eaters who are excited by the thought of eggplants, yellow carrots, and leafy greens.

That’s why we’re so excited about the connections happening between schools and farmers on FoodHub: because good food is all about relationships. The connections between schools and farms, and between students and their food, are crucial to developing a nation of healthy eaters. You might remember reading about the successful FoodHub matches made by the Gervais School District, Portland Public Schools, or by Pete Mulligan of Bull Run Cider, who sold local kiwis to several nearby school districts.

Make your own FoodHub connections with these tips:

Sellers: Use the Member Directory to search for schools near you. Suggest a product or two that you can supply, or offer to host a field trip, or talk to kids in the classroom about where their food comes from and how it’s grown.

School food buyers: It’s possible that you’re already sourcing some items locally (ask your distributor!). Use FoodHub to strike up a relationship with a local farm to source an item or two, then highlight these local items in the cafeteria and with your school community (teachers, parents, etc.), so they know about the good work you’re doing.

And, associates: Show your support! Do you have connections or expertise that could help a school district to move forward with farm to school? A little positive community support can go a long way.

Here’s to a school lunch that might look a bit more familiar to the rest of the world: real food, grown nearby, with the relationships to make it work. Yum!

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