Success in school is the foundation for success in life, and healthy eating is a critical building block for that foundation! Studies show that good nutrition improves brain function and intelligence levels of school-aged children. And, balanced diets also help students show up at school prepared to learn, and lower absences and behavior problems in class.
In our community, over 100,000 students in our community attend Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). The Nutrition Services team at JCPS works every day to provide students with healthy options that include fruits, vegetables, grains and milk.
Since 2009, JCPS has steadily increased the quantity and variety of local foods that are used in their recipes and started a “Farm to School” program that connects farms with school cafeterias and classrooms. Local farmers grow apples, watermelon, squash, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes for JCPS schools to use in recipes for student meals.
Student Nutrition Advisory Councils actually taste test foods at the schools and provide feedback on recipes. Chefs are able to modify to meet students’ taste while still meeting nutritional requirements. Zucchini muffins are the most popular item on the menu and the zucchini comes straight from a farmer in Bagdad, Kentucky in Shelby County!
This Farm to School initiative promotes healthy eating habits, gives students a chance to eat local foods and supports farmers and local food systems. Foods are often harvested and eaten on the same day! Right now, 27 schools have their own vegetable gardens!
Thanks to JCPS for being a great community partner, educating our community’s kids, promoting healthy eating and preparing them for college, work and life. This is how we build a healthier, more resilient community together!