Schodack, NY, July 31, 2012 -- Fresh eggplant parmesan and locally grown apples and pears are now on the menu at Maple Hill Middle School, thanks to a partnership with Chartwells School Dining Services. Together with Maple Hill seventh graders, who have taken a keen interest in nutrition awareness, Chartwells is highlighting vegetables and fruits in school lunches as part of the New York State Farm-to-School program. Schodack Central School District participates in this program that connects schools with local farms and food producers to offer local agriculture to schools.
As part of a Healthy Choices and Local Foods learning module, Maple Hill students in Christine Fowler’s 7th grade Connections Class received a list of locally grown fresh vegetables and fruit from Chartwells foodservice director Tom McNay. Seventh graders used the list to write letters to Mr. McNay with suggestions for dishes that incorporated these items. They also demonstrated their knowledge of nutrition by describing what they think make up a healthy and nutritious lunch. Mr. McNay took their suggestions and added some of these ideas into the already vast array of Chartwells healthful offerings.
Students also researched healthy foods and the importance of eating together as part of National Share a Meal with Your Family Day, which is scheduled for September 27, 2012. As a result of this project, lunches featured fresh eggplant, raw and cooked carrots and squash, fresh mushrooms, local apples and pears. Students also helped out by shucking locally grown corn on the cob that was served for lunch. Mr. McNay also provided students with fresh apple cider in return for their help.
“It’s great to see students working with our food services staff to come up with ideas for healthy foods that they want to eat,” said Principal Michael Bennett. “Chartwells and Mr. McNay do a great job of working with students and offering healthy food choices.”
“This initiative is a perfect example of what Chartwells does in schools across the country,” said McNay. “We listen to student feedback and incorporate their suggestions to our already nutritious food options in order to help us continuously improve our programs. That is the definition of a truly beneficial partnership.”