Organic Consumers Association

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Fresh Ideas for School Lunches

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, Appetite For a Change page and our Organic Transitions page.

In the adult world, there's a saying that goes like this: A big ship is hard to turn. It means that once people and organizations get used to doing something one way, it's hard to get them to do it a different way. Today, that big ship is the food being served in school cafeterias, where hamburgers, pizza and macaroni and cheese are still typical dishes. More and more, however, people are trying to get fruits and vegetables that are fresh and grown nearby into your school and into your belly.

"We're most passionate about getting the organic produce on our farm in the cafeteria," said Chris Guerre, a farmer in Great Falls who visits at least two schools in Arlington every month to tell kids what he's growing and to offer samples. (Organic food is food that is grown with no or very few man-made chemicals.) "What is most important is actually getting better food in the cafeteria and helping kids eat it and enjoy it and hopefully change their attitudes about food," said Guerre, who has been selling his fruits and vegetables to schools for five years.

Recently, Guerre stopped by Jamestown Elementary School to talk to the kids at lunchtime and pass out samples of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin soup.

"It's super good," said second-grader Hannah Marrone, 7. "I eat fruits and vegetables every day, because they're healthy for you." Her favorite fruit is mango, and her favorite vegetable is corn. "I'm getting more!" she said, and she went for seconds.

Her friend Ingrid Soracco, 7, agreed, even though she had never had pumpkin soup before. "It's awesome!" she said.

"We're trying to encourage and excite the kids," Guerre said. "We want it to be cool and fun to eat fruits and vegetables."   
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