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Bringing Healthy Food to the Classrooms

Meg poses an interesting question and seeks some wisdom from urbanMamas:

I am a high school teacher and I teach a course called environmental issues.  As part of the on-going guiding question of “How do you impact the environment and how can this be measured?” I wanted to do a weekly bit on healthy eating; healthy for the planet and healthy for the student.  My idea was to get a local farm or grocery store to donate organic fruit that was all locally grown.  I approached my administration with this idea and was told that I could only serve prepackaged food in class…. In other words, soda, chips, pizza, doughnuts, candy are all a-ok, but not organic fruit.  What are your experiences with what is acceptable to serve in the public school classroom?  Are there any loopholes I could squeeze through?  I know I can’t cook anything, but I thought raw foods were ok.  What would be the best way to go about changing this policy in a time efficient manner?  Lastly, does anyone have any connections with Washington County organic farms just in case I get this off the ground?

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What about taking your students out to the farms, or inviting farmers to come to your classroom and talk about agriculture, food security, what organic means in today's food system? Check out http://www.localharvest.com for resources. And feel free to email me. I know lots of people that could help you.

You can get around this rule if you have a food handling card. As a K/1 teacher I like to bring in food to show my students how things are made and I was given the OK as long as had the card. You might need to check with your district to see if they have the same exception.

http://www2.co.multnomah.or.us/FoodHandlerCard/FAQ.html

I take fresh fruit as a snack for my daughter's pre-k and kinder classes all the time. The teachers are thrilled to have it. This is a PPS school so maybe that makes a difference. With the little kids they cut up the apples, oranges or whatever. When I asked I was told not to do that at home and they would do it. With high school kids you can just hand them out so I do not know what the problem is.

If your school is still being picky about the rule, maybe you could do a permission slip? Sounds kind of out there that you can't do healthy food at a school. Where do you teach if you don't mind sharing? Good luck and healthy eating!

I know that there are many rules about only selling prepackaged food at bake sales, and I think it is due to food allergies and tainting. I bet this is related to that rule. Arg, another case of one bad "egg" ruining it for everyone else!

Thank you for trying to bring healthy food into your classroom! The Ecotrust Food and Farms program has been working on bringing fresh Oregon produce into the schools and the folks there might have some ideas for you. Looks like they have a contact person specifically for the program: http://www.ecotrust.org/farmtoschool/.
Good luck!

PCC Rock Creek has a wonderful program called the Learning Garden. Its been student developed and maintains a sustainable food loop on campus: harvest from the garden, served in the cafeteria, composted/worm bin, back to the garden.

I'm certain the instructors and/or students there would welcome another group coming in to check it out. contact noelle.studer@pcc.edu or find more info at http://www.pcc.edu/about/sustainability/

...and it's in washington county.

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