Fresh Produce at Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary School
Within the last five years, in an effort to assist in the growth of a healthier MRH student, there was an initiative to bring healthier foods into the school’s cafeterias. Through timeless meetings, partnerships, taste tastings, grants and much more, a solid plan to serve healthier, home-grown foods within the schools emerged. Gardens were planted outside of each school building and the food from there was transferred into the cafeterias and served.
MRH Elementary particularly, shared pictures of some of their produce from their garden. The students played a key role in picking the fruits and vegetables from the garden and bringing them into the cafeteria.
The student’s efforts in the garden, ultimately, serves as cross curriculum. Although this program’s inviting factor is its health benefits, learning is always incorporated in every activity. It teaches the students not only health practices, but also where the food comes from and how it’s grown.
Laura Tetley, MRH Elementary gardener, leads the gardening initiative at that building. Tetley brings food into the cafeteria such as carrots, green beans and lemon cucumbers. Tetley also makes an effort to take the students to the garden with her whenever she can and shows them where the food is grown, how to cultivate it, and when it is ready to harvest to take to the kitchen.
Janet Swallow, MRH Elementary food service manager, shares her pleasure with the program. “The kids are reacting positively to the healthier foods, way better than how one would imagine a child reacting to healthy fruits and vegetables. I love that we grow our food at home. Some kids may not know where the food they eat everyday comes from, so this gives them an opportunity to see first-hand and learn,” said Swallow.
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.