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In Kansas school district, students eat like they are on the farm

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Raymore-Peculiar School District in Kansas recently instituted a program that puts more farm fresh food in student lunches.
The Raymore-Peculiar School District in Kansas recently instituted a program that puts more farm fresh food in student lunches.

A major issue plaguing the U.S. right now is how to increase the healthfulness of school lunches. To improve the quality and availability of farm fresh goods, the Raymore-Peculiar School District in Kansas recently initiated a program that supplies its students with food directly shipped from farms, according to the Kansas City Star.

The district's director of child nutrition, Colleen Johnston, started the project as she endeavored to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables the students were eating at lunch. A fellow board member, Ryan Wescoat, amassed many farm contacts through his duties at the University of Missouri where he works "with local growers to find new vendors and find new revenue streams."

Benefiting the students and farmers alike, the program is a resounding success. Wescoat came up with the idea to hold an auction where they could purchase produce for the school. The school mostly buys goods that have a long shelf life and has stocked up on foods like cabbage, squash, pumpkins and peppers. Johnston declared the program a huge hit, affirming that she has heard "positive communication from teachers, parents and students" who "seem to love the different variety."

The program has also saved the district money: for example, a case of apples was $8 at the auction, but would have cost much more if purchased from a food supplier. Johnston has even bigger ideas, though, as she hopes to build gardens at schools, happily exclaiming that one school is "looking at planting in the spring." 

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