Incorporating Food From Local Farms Into Students' Lunches Provides Educational Opportunities

Posted on: 14 December 2016


School food service programs that use locally grown food in student lunches are able to reduce food transportation costs and provide students with fresh, in-season produce. Using food from nearby farms also provides educational opportunities. Here are some ways teachers can use school food service programs that incorporate food from local farms into lessons.

In-Season Fruits and Vegetables Can Be Used to Explain the Seasons

The seasons affect people in many ways. Children quickly learn that they must dress differently for each season and there are various seasonal activities to enjoy outdoors. Using local produce that's in season also lets teachers explain to young elementary school students how the changing seasons affect plants' growth and that different plants are harvested at different times of year.

Local Farms Make for Great Field Trips

When the food served in a school cafeteria comes from nearby farms, teachers at the school can schedule field trips to one of the farms. Farms are especially good places to visit on field trips, as the activities can be tailored both to the type of farm and the children's age. For instance, here are some activities kids may be able to do at a farm:

  • elementary school students can see farm animals and the barns or pens they live in
  • middle and high school students can gain vocational experience helping with the daily tasks of operating a farm
  • high school students can learn about the science behind the food animals are fed
  • students of all ages can try milking a cow or digging up a vegetable
  • students of all ages can learn about water conservation

These types of field trips are especially well-suited for science classes, as many of the activities on a farm are related to biology. Other classes, however, may still want to take a field trip to a farm. For instance, a social studies class could focus on the economics of the farm industry while visiting a farm.

Nutritional Foods Provide Educational Opportunities

Health teachers can use the foods included in students' lunches to teach students about nutritional eating. Teachers can talk about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and other unprocessed foods from nearby farms, and students can try the foods covered in class during their lunch break. As students get to try different foods, teachers can help them think of ways to come up with dishes and meals that have healthy foods that they like.

For more information, contact a company like Servesmart.