School lunches can be described many ways, but green generally never comes to mind. My parents told horror stories from their school days consisting of unidentifiable foods poured out of cans onto students’ trays. When I graduated from high school in 2003, there had only been a few minor improvements to the standard public school fare.
Children learn how to eat healthily from their community as well as from their parents. Unfortunately, very few initiatives have been successful in their attempt to create a greener, healthier school lunch program. Fortunately for our children, this is slowly changing.
Here are two programs that are making the school lunch room a safer place for children and the planet:
The Edible School Yard is a pilot program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley California that combines an organic kitchen classroom with a one acre garden plot. Students are taught how to grow their own food, basic food science principals, and good old-fashioned cooking. This program has been around since 1995, and many other school districts have emulated their unique approach.
Farm to School is a networking organization that is enabling local farmers to connect with schools in their area. School lunch programs are supplemented with the locally grown produce, encouraging students to eat a more balanced diet. The Farm to School website offers a variety of tools for parents or teachers wanting to start a local chapter in their community.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.