The Sunrise School Garden in North Branch is producing lots of fresh veggies, the layout is amazing and the sign, well, A+. With schools back in session, our school gardens are ripe for harvest! Our schools are not only dedicated to the best education possible for our youth, they are committed to providing the healthiest options for them too.
The Minnesota Department of Health states, “On average, students consume 35 percent to 50 percent of their daily total calories at school. However, within the school setting youth are often given access to junk foods and sugary drinks that offer little nutritional value. Some of this access is through competitive foods. Competitive foods and beverages include all items served or sold in schools outside of the federally reimbursable meal programs. Typically, these competitive products are sold in vending machines, a la carte lines within cafeterias, school stores, and snack bars.”
We partner with our school health councils to work toward reducing the amount of access to unhealthy foods. Last spring, the Mora School District applied for the Fuel up to Play 60 grant and received funding from the Mid-West Dairy Council to purchase a smoothie machine, food processor and extra storage containers for their snack cart. This school year, the smoothies will be served as an option on the snack cart as well as in the al a carte line at the high school and concessions. The smoothie machine will replace the malt machine making for healthier options and more creative fruit smoothie recipes.
Kids naturally enjoy eating healthy and being physically active. Parents, schools and communities like ours are dedicated to providing environments that support healthy behaviors and teach lifelong healthy eating habits. Great job Mora and North Branch Schools!