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Marshmallow fluff sandwiches on white bread for lunch? Chocolate milk for breakfast? These are two examples of the kinds of food served in our local schools that drove a group of Northampton parents to form the Healthy Foods in Northampton Schools Coalition.
“We wanted to find ways to slowly begin to incorporate fresh, affordable, local and healthier food into existing menus,” explains Wendy Bernstein, a nutritionist and co-chair of the coalition. “We decided to start by introducing students to new healthy foods, incorporating student feedback into menu planning, motivating parents to get involved, and getting feedback from teachers about nutrition-related curriculum.” says Co-Chair and 2nd grade teacher Micki Darling. It was with these goals in mind that Fresh Wednesdays was born.
The Fresh Wednesdays program serves freshly prepared, locally grown food monthly in Northampton schools. The program demonstrates that fresh food can be affordable and tasty! Hundreds of parents joined their children for a Fresh Wednesdays lunch this year.
GFN supported Fresh Wednesdays by developing a survey to identify the food, nutrition, and local agriculture topics currently discussed in classrooms. Fresh Wednesdays will help teachers incorporate this information into a more comprehensive healthy eating curriculum.
Ultimately, the Healthy Foods in Northampton Schools Coalition hopes to get freshly prepared, locally grown food on the menu every day and make marshmallow fluff sandwiches a thing of the past.