100% Organic School Lunch Program In Carmel Valley, CAMon 12 Sep 2011
Story by Cynthia McCoy
All Saints’ Day School Organic Lunches from Earthbound Farm
How hard is it to get a child to eat healthy, organic food? Not hard at all when the food is fresh, delicious, and part of a fabulous school lunch program.
It just took a spark of an idea for two neighbors in Carmel Valley, California to pilot the only 100% certified organic lunch program we know of in the country. The partnership between All Saints’ Day School and Earthbound Farm has resulted in healthy lunches that highlight seasonal and nutrient-rich options for the students in Pre-K through 8th grade.
The idea that was planted by parents who hoped their children could have a healthy lunch program, like those they had seen on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, was embraced by Michele Rench, Head of All Saints’ Day School, Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm, and Executive Chef of Earthbound Farm, Sarah LaCasse. The result is a program that not only encourages good nutritional choices, but contributes to developing good habits of reusing and recycling - trays and utensils are re-used and there is almost zero waste!
Watching the students at All Saints’ eagerly await the soup and salad bar and the hot menu choices such as turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes or whole wheat macaroni and cheese, it is easy to see how providing children healthy food options at school can be successful. Not only do the students learn that healthy food can taste delicious, but seeing their friends enjoying the nutritious meals provides positive reinforcement towards a lifetime of good eating habits.
All Saints’ Organic Lunches from Earthbound Farm have been met with enthusiasm - students, faculty and staff all report that they love the food. That is a testament to the skillful and creative energy of the culinary team as they create menus that are wholesome and kid-friendly. Many students are being introduced to ingredients they’ve never seen before, and now they’re embracing them. Most popular items? Corn chowder, roasted sweet potatoes, turkey bolognese and enchilada casserole head the list. Beets, especially among middle schoolers, seem to be a particular favorite from the soup and salad bar – who knew?
What does the future hold? There are plans to more fully integrate healthy eating and living concepts into the school’s curriculum and to further develop the existing All Saints’ Organic Garden to emphasize the connection between foods and how those foods are grown. There is already a new crop of tomatoes and basil in the garden from plants donated by Earthbound Farm and planted by All Saints’ families, soon to become part of one of the seasonal school lunches! Now how is that for “hands-on” learning, and “from farm to table”?
About the author: Cynthia McCoy is the Communications & Public Relations Director for All Saints’ Day School, and a parent who wishes her two children, now alumni of All Saints’ Day School, could have had these lunches!
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