School. It's where we, as a society, try to set our best example. At least, that's idea. Right? Except, it doesn't always happen. In the cafeteria there are so many issues at play: shrinking budgets. Kids' tastes. Parents' tastes. Federal guidelines. Federal subsidies. Purchasing contracts. Twenty years ago, my mom packed my lunch. But things are getting better. Last year Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act—the first change in fifteen years—which gave the nutrition requirements a serious overhaul. I don't agree with all of the changes. In particular, I find the low-fat rhetoric pretty outdated. But I'm all for fruits and veggies every day of the week, more whole grains, proper portion size, and the elimination of trans fats.
And there are some pretty cool things going on in local schools. Truro, for one, is cooking local meals twice a week. Warren Faulkenburg has been cooking there for twenty years. Two years ago, he and the school nurse, Helen Grimm, and the non-profit Sustainable Cape worked together with Principal (and Superintendent, as Truro Central is a one-school district) Brian Davis to put together a Farm to School program. That up there is chicken from Drew Locke's farm in Truro, Hillside Poultry. Drew is in his early twenties, raises his chickens on pasture, and happens to be a former student of Truro Central. The kids at Truro Central eat Drew's chicken once a week, every Thursday. They also have fresh local fish once a week, and in the fall and spring they get local greens and other produce and harvest veggies from the raised beds the kids tend on the property.
It's pretty cool. There are other schools all over our area doing great things with local food, and over the next few months we're going to profile a few of them here. If you have suggestions, we'd love to hear them! Let us know what your local school is doing.