October 23rd, 2012
06:38 PM ET

School ditches the can, grows fresh food

by Matt Abshire, CNN

(CNN) A fresh fruit and vegetable bar isn't exactly a common option you'll find in school cafeterias, but Rene Sellgren is helping initiate a new program to provide that very idea.

Sellgren is the chef at Spokane School District's Community School in Washington.  She is leading the charge into a new scratch cooking project aimed at creating lunches from the fresh produce students have grown in a campus-run garden.

In short, the students pick the produce, and she creates a menu around what they bring in.

"What we're really doing is getting away from cans and bags and already prepared food, and using whole food that we actually do all the cooking instead of it coming frozen or in a can," said Sellgren in an interview with KXLY.

The project is part of a wider initiative by the nonprofit organization Empire Health Foundation to help school districts create healthier, fresher lunch menus for students while minimizing costs. And the idea seems to be paying off. Both students and administrators are excited about the new program that feeds while teaching healthy habits. (KXLY video)

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. ohioan

    My kids would love a program like that. They are pretty adventurous eaters. Even my 'pickiest' one. They're older and love helping in our garden.

    October 27, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  2. w247

    What a great program! There should be a required class to teach kids how to grow fresh produce and how to cook with what they grew. Kudos to them!

    October 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  3. AKA

    My children's school is a Farm to Fork school and the children love the food. It is a k-8 school and they eat things like quiona and squash etc. The food is spectacular and no one goes hungry. They also assist the chef's in the morning shucking corn and other tasks as well as tending the school garden as part of their science curriculum. Our school has partnered with an inner city school to help them get rid of the processed foods in their kitchen. It can be done!

    October 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  4. USA

    We need lunches that will fill the stomach. They are making kids bigger these days. Some high schoolers look like they are in there 20's. Look how females dress. They wonder why they get raped.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • ohioan

      actually "we" are making kids bigger by constantly feeding them crap and not showing them what a healthy menu includes.

      October 27, 2012 at 9:54 am |
      • Charlotte

        "USA" never finished school so lacks the mental resources to understand your point. And he lacks the understanding that the way a girl dresses has nothing to do with whether the men bother to control their bestial instincts and go out and rape someone. It isn't the girls' fault, it's the men who are retards and losers.

        October 28, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  5. Los

    Mmmmmiss dem tater tots, that squarish rectanguler pizza with dat chewy pepporoni & that green jello!...those were the days, Now im hungry!

    October 24, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  6. Los

    Mmmmmiss dem tater tots, that squarish rectanguler pizza with dat chewy pepporoni & that green jello!... Now im hungry

    October 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  7. Rob

    Anyone who votes for a candidate because they don't want their children to eat healthier is a moron. There's also a difference between being used to eating a lot of crap, and eating what is actually required and not more (hence obesity being an issue). I'm also amazed at how grossed out people are children have to eat vegetables. Here's an idea, how about we stop pretending vegetables are some kind of charcoal substance that is indigestible.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Charlotte

      Exactly. Moreover, nobody – NOBODY – in government is telling parents they can't feed their kids as much crap as they desire, in their effort to kill their own children. No, the government is saying "we, the government, are going to feed healthier food in the school lunch program. If you buy these lunches, which are heavily subsidized by the government and therefore the government has EVERY RIGHT to say what goes into them, then your kid will be offered a healthy meal." This doesn't preclude parents from opting out of it and having their kids bring lunch to school every day. They can bring whatever poison they want – donuts, hamburgers, fries, potato chips, any horrible thing you can imagine. Nobody will stop them. But if you want to get a nearly free lunch then you eat what's put in front of you and STFU.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  8. Hunter Ries

    My school lunches are not so tasty, and there is not so much givin by the cooks but some days they rarely give us enought.I could see why parents would vote romney because of the healthy kids act.I uderstand because of kids not being healthy but brussle sprouts? realy?

    October 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Hunter, you clearly aren't past about – what – third grade? Romney won't help kids become healthy, he'd be giving you catsup and calling it a vegetable. And for your information, Brussels sprouts (please note correct spelling and don't make such a stupid mistake again) are delicious and are the kind of thing you SHOULD be eating. You don't get enough food? Who are you kidding, they feed exactly enough but they aren't going to stuff you full of crap. Get over it and learn about proper eating.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:35 am |