Today I attended a meeting consisting of local farmers, School Nutrition Directors for the two local districts in my area, and the Co-Creator of the Maine Harvest Lunch Program. Last year, Our Governor declared 9/26/07 as Maine Havest Lunch Day in our school system. All schools were strongly urged to serve meals to our kids using only locally produced products. They are hoping to do the same thing this year with many more schools participating. The main focus of this meeting is to provide healthier, more locally produced food into our schools at all times, not just for one day each year.
It was an informative meeting yet sad at the same time. 60 farms were invited, 6 showed up. I realize everyone is busy but sometimes things are important enough to take the time to attend. What our kids eat is that important in my book. Many of the items our kids eat for lunch travel some 2500 miles before they reach our lunch room tables. How fresh is that?
Hopefully everyone at the meeting today will be able to provide at least *some* fresh food to our school districts this year. Every little bit helps and together we CAN made a difference. We definately need to start somewhere. We have several new programs being implemented at the middle and high school this year. Several raised beds and a new greenhouse going up with gardening classes being offered. The students will raise quite a few veggies for the school as a class.
I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that the reason school food service program don't offer fresh, appealing, wholesome meals to our kids is because these programs are not funded by school districts. Can you believe it??? So many things need to be changed. Hopefully by educating people, especially our children, we can change this in the near future.