Farm to school initiatives are growing trends today and will be for decades to come. Taher, Inc. has been committed to offering fresh, made-from-scratch meals for schools that include farm-direct produce.
School meal choices at Central Public Schools are chef-developed and registered dietitian-approved and now, the district will have even more farm-focused foods to look forward as plans develop for a school garden.
Cindy Ann Lambright, a professional chef and food service director for Taher, Inc. at Central Public Schools manages the school lunch program and recently returned from a national conference that was entirely dedicated to educating attendees about new advances in “Farm to Cafeteria” programming. In addition to gaining knowledge and resources, Lambright was a recipient of a $1,000 grant for school garden programming at Central Public School District.
The conference, titled “Digging In!” was held in Burlington and brought together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, and more to advance their skills in this rapidly growing movement. The conference included skill-building short courses, field trips to Vermont farms and institutions, inspiring speakers and a diverse workshop program as well as networking with folks who are working hard to connect their communities to local, farm-fresh food.
“The conference was very inspiring and I was able to learn about farm to cafeteria best practices and educational programs that are in effect across the country,” said Lambright. “The highlight was receiving the school garden grant, and we’ve already formed a Farm to School Committee which will be meeting frequently to form our garden plan, working with the Future Farmers of America, teachers and students to collaboratively build the program. This is win-win for our students and the community as we continue to offer fresh, flavorful foods in our programs.”
Some of the initial plans for the committee include evaluating an in-classroom method to allow students to grow culinary herbs for use in school meals and in classroom taste-test activities. Student involvement in the gardening process means they are more likely to try and accept new tastes and food items.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about involvement in the Farm to School Project, contact Lambright at (952) 467-7147.