School Lunches: What’s on the plate and where did it come from?
In 2010, Congress passed a law that made major changes to school lunches. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act mandated that each meal include a serving of vegetables. It also increased the serving size so that meat made up a smaller portion of the plate and vegetables a larger one.
Schools across the high plains are addressing that requirement in different ways.
Nancy O’Connor, director of education and outreach at the Merc cooperative grocery in Lawrence, said that public awareness around the issue has coincided with an increasing interest in local foods reported the Wichita Eagle.
School gardens are popping up across the region. Will Rogers Elementary School in Amarillo, Texas, started a garden last year according to ConnectAmarillo. It was outgrowth of the Snack Pak program, which sends food home with students for the weekend, said Terri Huseman, Principal, at the school. She said the program made her aware of the bigger need for food in the community, and that the school garden has transformed into a community garden. Families in the neighborhood help take care of it, and in return they harvest fresh vegetables for their dinner table.
Harvest Public Media helps paint a larger picture. School gardens can impact the business community, and unlike schools, gardens don’t vacation in the summer.