Local produce a hit in Western Washington schools

Ten school districts joined Fresh Food in School Project to increase local produce.

Feb. 20—The increasing number of farmers' markets in Western Washington has led to local produce finding its way onto school lunch menus. Of the 10 school districts in Western Washington that have formally joined the Fresh Food in Schools Project, a statewide effort to get Washington-grown produce in schools, four are in Snohomish or Island counties: Arlington, Lake Stevens, South Whidbey and Northshore.

Students in the Arlington and Snohomish school districts can eat apples recently plucked from the branches of Marshland Orchards in Maltby. The salad bar in the Lake Stevens School District can include offerings of celery sticks from Fife, sweet red peppers from Wapato and cucumbers harvested from the fields of nearby Carleton Farm.

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A new law in Washington will expand Breakfast After the Bell programs throughout the state, the Daily Fly reports.

Signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee, HB 1508 requires that schools in which at least 70% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals offer Breakfast After the Bell by the time the 2019-2020 school year begins.

The food offered at breakfast must meet federal nutrition standards and can’t be made up of more than 25% added sugar. Schools must also give preference to food that is fresh and grown in the state.

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The University of Southern California in Los Angeles will begin offering fresh kosher meals three times a week at its USC Village Dining Hall, the Daily Trojan reports.

The meals will be delivered to the dining hall every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening by a local kosher butcher beginning March 20. The butcher will also deliver sandwiches, salads and other kosher items to a marketplace on campus.

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The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

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