Schools set up vegetable gardens for cafeteria fare

NEW BEDFORD, Mass.—Students at Brooks School in New Bedford, Massachusetts, will have fresh vegetables in their school cafeteria next year and they’ll come straight from their own school garden.

“Every single grade level has a bed in the garden,” said Principal Kevin Sullivan, who helped plant bushes in the garden.

There are also three community beds at the school, he said.

Students are helping to grow cucumbers, peas, beans, strawberries, lettuce, squash and butterfly bushes.

The Brooks School and the Hannigan School held ribbon-cutting ceremonies for their gardens earlier this month after an almost yearlong partnership with the Marion Institute.

Brooks also has a gardening club, Sullivan said.

“We have almost 30 children in that Gardening Club, cleaning it up, watering and weeding,” he said. “They’re really getting into the hands-on science of watching things grow.”

The gardening project translates across the curriculum. Sullivan said students are drawing pictures of the plants, writing about what they are doing and they are graphing their work using science and math skills.

At the Hannigan ribbon-cutting ceremony, Zoe Hansen-DiBello, the Marion Institute’s Grow Education and youth coordinator who spearheaded the garden efforts, said families there would be taking home the garden vegetables.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

Ideas and Innovation
packaged meals

While the multiple-choice questions on FoodService Director’s annual census surveys are a great way of gathering data on trends, I’ve always been rather partial to the open-ended queries. We can’t possibly think up every answer operators might have to a particular question, and it gives respondents a chance to show some personality as well. (A special nod to one cheeky operator’s not-quite-safe-for-work response to how they’re tackling shortened lunch periods—you made my day.)

So this year, for the first time since I’ve been at FoodService Director, I chose to include a very open-...

Ideas and Innovation
chicken dinner

For the last three years, we’ve hosted an event called Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. We sponsor the local chapter of Future Farmers of America to raise the chickens, and we have to arrange all the transporting from farms to the distributor, which keeps the birds in a freezer until we’re ready. We build hype by having students vote on the proprietary spice blend they would like on the chicken. It helps the nutrition team get involved in the educational process and showcase local food purchasing.

Menu Development
ramen bowl spoon chopsticks

Asian noodle soups are a popular lunch option at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., campus, says Trent Page, the GM at Bon Appetit Management who runs the company’s three corporate dining venues. But Page noticed an increasing preference for customizable dishes and vegan preparations among the 1,000 customers he feeds daily. Inspired by a recent visit to Japan, he introduced tsukemen to the menu—a dish that features most of the traditional ramen ingredients (noodles, eggs and vegetable garnishes) served separately so diners can mix and match. “Separating the components makes it more customizable...

FSD Resources