Fresh, local strawberries coming to seven Metro Schools cafeterias in May
Metro Schools is bringing more local, fresh produce to student lunches. The district has expanded its Farm to School pilot program during the strawberry harvest season as part of its U.S. Department of Agriculture Planning Grant. This grant is helping the district’s Nutrition Services team develop a sustainable model for district-wide Farm to School – an initiative to get wholesome, farm-fresh produce into school kitchens and onto the plates of students who need it most.
Casa Azafran Early Learning Center, Fall-Hamilton Elementary, Glengarry Elementary, Glenview Elementary, Park Avenue Enhanced Option Elementary, Rosebank Elementary, and Wright Middle Prep will begin receiving fresh, local strawberry deliveries beginning the week of May 9 through May 24.
For the second year, Green Door Gourmet is the only farm to provide fresh strawberries to Metro Nashville students.
Green Door Gourmet’s owner, Sylvia Ganier, supports the Farm to School movement and the connection between students, producers, and where the food system begins. "Green Door Gourmet is once again honored to be the only local farm participating in this important community program, feeding our kids fresh food grown here in Middle Tennessee,” Ganier said.
With the help of School Nutrition Alignment Team through Alignment Nashville, the $38,682 planning grant will continue Metro Schools’ efforts forge and strengthen relationships with more local farmers, aligning food education resources and partnerships.
The Nashville Farmers’ Market is very excited to support Metro Schools’ efforts to provide more locally grown food in school cafeterias. Nashville Farmers’ Market Program Manager, Jackie Contreras, serves as co-chair on Alignment Nashville’s Farm alongside School Nutrition Director Spencer Taylor.
“The Nashville Farmers’ Market is committed to supporting Farm to School by sharing Farm to School information with the agricultural community and engaging local farmers in opportunities to provide food and educational resources to MNPS,” Contreras said.
Through collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Education, Nashville Farmers’ Market and others, the Alignment Nashville School Nutrition Team and Metro Schools has been working over the last year to develop a two-pronged tactical plan around healthy eating, local sourcing, and food/agriculture education:
(1) Working with local farms (within 250-mile radius), extension offices, and other agricultural stakeholders to build partnerships and farm capacity to provide local produce to Metro Nashville Public Schools and
(2) Working with educators, partner farms, and other agricultural/educational stakeholders to develop engaging educational content to work in tandem with the fresh produce being served in MNPS cafeterias.
Along with the Farm to School program, Metro Schools Nutrition Services, with support from the Alignment Nashville School Nutrition Team, has implemented whole-food from scratch cooking in Metro Schools cafeterias through the Healthier Cafés initiative.