Local Food, Local Schools

Fresh Wednesdays

Fresh Wednesdays is a new program designed to serve freshly prepared, locally grown food one day a month in all Northampton Schools (K-12), including local fruits, vegetables, eggs & lean meats. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Fresh Wednesdays is a new program designed to serve freshly prepared, locally grown food one day a month in all Northampton Schools (K-12). The goal of the program is to introduce students to new healthy foods; improve performance; and, ultimately, reduce obesity. The Fresh Wednesdays kick-off lunch will be on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.

The Fresh Wednesdays program is based on the principle that fresh food can be affordable, and taste good. The program includes purchasing farm-to-school produce, and encourages parental involvement. Parents and guardians of Northampton elementary school students are invited to join their children for lunch on October 20th. Students will bring home an invitation for their family to RSVP to the event. The Fresh Wednesdays lunch will be offered at the regular price for students, and $4 for parents and staff.

Healthy foods are minimally processed and prepared with whole food ingredients – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, eggs, poultry, and lean meats.

“A major national health goal has been set by the President to dramatically reduce childhood obesity. It’s our hope that this small step is the first of many to help reach this goal” stated Karen Jarvis Vance, Director of Health Services. According to a report published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in September 2010, 29% of Northampton students had a body mass index (BMI) that was overweight or obese.

“I’m excited to see the students try new healthy foods and see what they like” says Carol DiMauro, Director of Food Services, who will be leading the charge in preparing the Fresh Wednesday kick-off lunch.

Fresh Wednesdays is coordinated by the Healthy Foods in Northampton Schools Coalition in collaboration with Green Action in Northampton Schools (GAINS), the Northampton Food Services Department, Board of Health, School Health Services, and School Committee.

The Healthy Food in Northampton Schools Coalition is a volunteer group that meets monthly. If you are interested in attending meetings contact Micki Darling, Green Action in Northampton Schools Coordinator at mickidarling@hotmail.com.

About Green Action In Northampton Schools (GAINS) Program

The Green Action in Northampton Schools (GAINS) Program is an innovative environmental program that brings real world problems into Northampton’s schools and engages students and other members of our school community in critical and creative thinking to address those problems. The focus is on education about sustainability and on organizing students to learn about and take action towards sustainability. Green teams are organized in each school to lead the school in identifying projects to work on. These initiatives will then be used to develop cross-disciplinary learning experiences in the classroom. GAINS is a collaboration between concerned citizens, the Northampton Energy and Sustainability Officer, the Waste Management Supervisor of Northampton’s DPW, The Hitchcock Center for the Environment, the Center for Ecological Technology and the Principals, Teachers, Staff and Students of the Northampton Public Schools. The project will receive $15,000 for one year. [Source: Northampton Education Foundation]

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