In celebration of Food Day, Des Moines Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services invites media guests to join students for lunch in Hillis Elementary School’s cafeteria for a special Farm to School Month “Midwest Menu.”
Throughout the district, Des Moines Public Schools will be featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with regionally-sourced chicken drumsticks, in coordination with other large districts across the area that are members of the School Food FOCUS Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab (UMRLL).
Des Moines will be sourcing roasted chicken drumsticks from George’s Poultry Farm in Cassville, Missouri, in addition to Iowa Choice Harvest‘s locally-grown sweet corn (sourced from Griffieon Family Farms and Pheasant Run Farm) and an apple crisp (sourced from 10 local apple orchards).
Sandy Huisman, Director of Food and Nutrition Management for Des Moines Public Schools, says, “Food Day provides a great opportunity to promote and celebrate the local and regional foods we serve to our students. Our Food Service team loves preparing special recipes, like the apple crisp on the Midwest Menu, that is a special treat for the kids at their schools.”
School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that brings together the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. Its Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab leverages the buying power of seven large districts that feed nearly 650,000 students (Chicago, Cleveland, Des Moines, Detroit, Minneapolis, Omaha, and Saint Paul Public Schools) to redirect procurement practices toward more wholesome food.
Des Moines Public Schools participates in the UMRLL with support from the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in Des Moines, a non-profit organization which hosts the FoodCorps program in Iowa. Two FoodCorps service members currently assist Des Moines schools with nutrition education, school gardening, and bringing locally grown food to the cafeteria.
For more information about the Midwest Menu, go to http://umrllfoodday2014.wordpress.com/.
Farm to School Month is a project of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). NCAT’s Midwest Regional Office in Des Moines is the Midwest NFSN Co-Lead Agency.
Other schools across Iowa are participating in special Farm to School Month activities, with the involvement of FoodCorps Iowa service members in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Independence, Oelwein, Postville, Waterloo and Waukon.