Farm to School Initiatives
As part of its efforts to address childhood obesity, the Minneapolis Health Department has partnered with Minneapolis public and charter/ alternative schools to support improvements to their nutrition policies and practices.
DID YOU KNOW…?
- 23% of Minnesota youth ages 10-17 are obese
- Numerous studies have found healthy eating behaviors contribute to better academic performance. A 2008 study of fifth graders in Nova Scotia demonstrated a correlation between increased fruit, vegetable, and protein intake and literacy scores.
- During the 2012-2013 school year, Minneapolis Public Schools will serve more than 21,000 lunches each day
- In 2010-2011, 57% of Twin Cities charter school students were eligible for free and reduced lunch compared to 33% at public schools
- A survey of 146 Minnesota charter schools found that 31% of schools want Farm to School Training
Minneapolis Public Schools
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is working at a district level to develop procurement policies that emphasize healthy, locally grown foods. In addition, MPS has selected 10 school sites to intensively promote Farm to School through education, marketing, and hands-on activities with students, parents, and teachers. Each school will identify a number of events and opportunities to promote Farm to School, including taste-testing demonstrations with local, in-season foods in the school cafeterias, field trips or classroom visits with local farmers, a veggie of the month program, and educational materials (posters, flyers, brochures). Participating schools Include Bryn Mawr, Burroughs, Hmong Academy, Dowling, Loring, Nellie Stone Johnson, Northrop, Pierre Bottineau, Seward, Waite Park, and Washburn.
As part of the SHIP grant, the health department is also committed to supporting 10 Minneapolis charter schools with Farm to School initiatives. Funding, supplies, and technical assistance are available for schools interested in integrating chosen strategies. Currently, MHD staff are developing strategies with the 10 primary partner schools for implementation during the 2012-2013 school year. Potential initiatives include taste testings, field trips, increased healthy food procurement, garden activities, and Food Day events. Charter school partners include Ascension, Augsburg Fairview Academy, Bright Water Montessori, MNIC-Unity, MNIC-Sabathani, WISE, Southside Family Charter, and Sojourner Truth Academy.
Accomplishments and Results:
Minneapolis Public Schools
MPS hosted an inaugural Farm to School Community BBQ on September 21, 2012 to raise awareness about recent efforts to improve the amount of healthy, locally grown foods in school meals. Over 500 MPS students, parents, teachers, and community members gathered together to enjoy farm fresh food, learn about farm animals and crops, and hear about the exciting Farm to School activities coming up this school year.
Local Sourcing MHD has met with four caterers serving the schools involved in the initiative, one of which is developing a strategy to source more local food during the 2012-2013 school year. During initial meetings, charter schools have articulated a strong interest in implementing Farm to School initiatives.
World Food Day Four charter schools receiving funding from SHIP recognized Food Day in various ways. From sharing a lesson plan developed by MHD to showing documentaries to serving local salsa, schools engaged students around healthy food and where it comes from. This was the beginning of an exciting year of Farm to School activities.
Taste Testing All participating schools have served the “Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap,” a new, healthy menu item featuring baked chicken, a whole wheat tortilla, and plenty of veggies. After tasting the wrap, students were encouraged to vote on whether or not they liked it. They also heard from a community nutrition educator and received a recipe card. Hundreds of students “loved it!”
How to Run a Taste Test - Cafeteria taste testing - a brief "how to"
Activity Guide - Gardening and cooking resources
Sample Classroom Lessons:
Valuing Our Individual Cultures through Engagement (VOICE) Project - a video and lesson plan that features African American, American Indian, Latino, Hmong, and Somali communities talking about how culture is connected to food, healthy weight and body size. The VOICE Listener Form provides the Health Department with useful observations of the project.
Last updated Dec. 5, 2013