info@mountainrootsfoodproject.org        PO Box 323 Gunnison, CO 81230

HARVEST OF THE MONTH



Mountain Roots and RE1J School District are pleased to participate in Colorado School’s Harvest of the Month Program beginning in 2011-12:  a program that emphasizes fresh produce (Colorado grown whenever possible) and communicates a good message about nutrition and physical activity. Throughout the school year this program will extend from the classroom and cafeteria to the home and community, promoting healthier habits and futures for our students.


Eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and getting physical activity every day not only reduces the risks of developing chronic diseases, but research shows it also helps children improve academic performance and classroom behavior. The Colorado School’s Harvest of the Month program allows students to taste and explore a different fruit or vegetable each month in the cafeteria and in the classroom. By focusing on a particular produce item each month, students learn about the various nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, history, fun facts, and botanical and growing information. The program includes color menus, newsletter pieces including recipes, nutrition information, and physical activity tips.




LOCAL FOODS LUNCHES  & ALL-NATURAL GRASS-FED BEEF



In 2011-12 and 2012-13, we hosted a Farm to School Local Foods Lunch once a month. On this da
y, every item on the tray was either local, homemade, fresh, or organic.  Popular dishes included hearty beef stew, lasagna, beef and noodles, and spaghetti and meatballs. Parents were invited to dine with their students, and volunteers visited the lunches to talk to kids about what it means to eat healthy and to ‘eat local.’

The “anchor” for Local Foods Day was Parker Pastures’ Grass-Fed Beef, produced right here in Gunnison Valley. Because tight budgets didn’t allow kitchens to pay the higher prices of local beef, Mountain Roots “bridged the gap” and funded the price difference between Parker Pastures beef and the price point provided by US Foods. The first two years, that gap was about $1.40 per pound.  In spring of 2013, the price of commercial beef went up, and the gap was smaller - around $0.40 per pound, so we could afford to purchase local beef two, three, or four times a month. With a taste of what was possible, RE1J began to explore the logistics of making an across-the-board change to purchasing local beef all the time.  The option was put to bid in July 2013, and in September 2013, we were told that US Foods “won” the bid with an all-natural grass-fed beef in their organic/natural line from Henderson, Colorado.

Making a switch from large-scale industry beef to the “all-natural” beef is a step the the right direction, just not the one we were hoping for. Mountain Roots understands that often small steps are the only way toward lasting, positive change. The health benefits [of the "natural beef"] will certainly exist and will be beneficial to our kids. And, it's a message to the community that the district is taking action to improve the quality and nutrition of school meals. However, by selecting US Foods as the provider, the other goals of boosting the local food economy, reducing carbon footprint, and connecting kids to the land on which they live and they food grows have been compromised.  When a compromise is made, something is gained, but something is also given up.  Mountain Roots can celebrate this small successes, and we will continue to work towards solutions that meet all of our  goals in the future, in hopes of bringing the beef contract to Gunnison area ranchers.



SALAD BAR FOR CBCS  - RETURNED TO SENDER



In 2011, Mountain Roots Food Project and CBCS  won a grant from Chef Ann Cooper  and Whole Foods’ “Great American Salad Bar Project.”  

Implementing a Salad Bar in your school is one of the fastest ways to create fresh food access to all students purchasing a reimbursable meal.  In fact, the "salad" can be much more than greens and fruit. By utilizing USDA Commodity brown box items like diced chicken, tuna, egg products and grain products the Salad Bar reinvents itself as a reimbursable meal. Using the salad bar to introduce children to food in their raw state and educate students palates by offering some special seasonal salads makes fast work of transforming your cafeteria into a classroom enjoyed by all every day.

Unfortunately, CBCS decided they couldn’t use the salad bar. In fact, it was never even unpacked or tried. Many obstacles were cited:  the salad prep was labor intensive, it might require additional staff to monitor or be hard to teach the younger students how to use it, it was difficult to make it a reimbursable meal, there might be too much waste.

 

Local Food


We envision a school lunch based on values that support a sustainable community food system and nourish the whole child.

We focus on improving the nutrition and quality of food in school meals, promote healthy eating habits, active lifestyle choices.  We build connections between school cafeterias and local farmers to bring more fresh, local, organic, and made-from-scratch food to our kids. Projects throughout the school year bring LOCAL FOODS into the spotlight, so kids can taste new foods and begin to understand why eating local makes a difference.

The Farm to School Forager

Since the availability of local foods is always changing, our schools need a Farm to School Forager who connects with growers on a regular basis, gets a current list of produce and prices, checks for quality, and assists with ordering and delivery.

 

FARM TO SCHOOL



Local Food

       HARVEST OF THE MONTH

       SUPERFOODS FOR TCAPs



Environmental &

Nutrition Education

      GUEST CHEFS

         FIELD TRIPS

         TASTE TESTING

         COMPOSTING


Youth Gardens

   LIVING CLASSROOM AT CBCS

     GUNNISON YOUTH GARDEN

     LIVING CLASSROOM AT GCS


Roots & Shoots Camps +

Summer Field Studies



Kids Cook!



Outreach for   

Healthy Youth

 


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Healthy Living Blog

[articles for healthier lifestyle choices for all ages]



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