FNS_CityGrowers_theMOVEAs summer winds down, BPS Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) staff is gearing up for the start of school on Thursday September 4th, 2014. We’ve spent the last week hosting various training and professional development opportunities for our cafeteria staff as they prepare their kitchens for another year of healthy, tasty school meals.

thMOVE_BPS_FFG_CGThis year, members of our FNS management team also spent a day out in the fields (literally!) reconnecting with our own stories of growing and eating healthy, sustainable foods. Through a partnership with theMOVE, a local non-profit that takes BPS students on reflective farm volunteer trips, our team alongside trainees from the Urban Farming Institute of Boston, helped harvest lettuce, stake tomatoes and weed squash beds at City Growers right off of Blue Hill Ave in Dorchester, MA.

Our staff also had the opportunity to hear from Cassandria Campbell, a BPS graduate and co-founder of Fresh Food Generation,  and taste a delicious spread of locally grown vegetables, jerk chicken, and rice and beans prepared by the new food truck and catering business aimed at improving access to healthy, affordable, foods in low-income neighborhoods here in Boston. It is days like these help our team to refocus, re-energize and remember why we do the work that we do to bring Boston’s students healthy and delicious meals each day.

Here’s an inspiring Ted Talk by Jarret J. Krosoczka author and illustrator of the Super Hero Lunch Lady graphic novels to remind us all of the important role that our staff plays in feeding and shaping our students each day.

Here’s to a great start to the 2014-2015 school year!

 

 

USDA’s Farm to School Implementation Grant helped to support this farm volunteer opportunity with theMOVE, City Growers and Fresh Food Generation.

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On July 10th, 2014 BPS Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) kicked off the summer with a barbeque at the Thomas M. Menino Community Center in Roslindale.  The youth from the community center enjoyed hot dogs, watermelon slices, coleslaw and potato salad prepared by Whitsons Culinary Group, this year’s Summer Food Service Program vendor.

Guest speakers included Kurt Messner, an Acting Regional Administrator from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Katie Millet, Executive Director of the Office for Nutrition, Health & Safety Programs at the Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE), Edith Murnane, Director of Food Initiatives for the City of Boston, Deb Ventricelli, BPS FNS Deputy Director, and Cynthia Johnson, Director of the Thomas M. Menino Community Center.

Representatives from Chop Chop Magazine, the New England Dairy Council, and Project Bread also joined the festivities to promote the Summer Food Service Program.  For more images from the event, check out the article on Wicked Local.

Wondering where to find lunch this summer? Visit an open site this summer!  Details about open sites can be found at the Summer Food Service Program resource page.

 

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That’s right!  School is out, and summer programs across the city of Boston start today.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals for ALL children 18 years of age and under, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. This year, SFSP will run from  June 30,  2014 through August 29, 2014.   SFSP is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education and sponsored by USDA, Project Bread and the Boston Public Schools, Department of Food and Nutrition Services.

For a print-friendly list of open sites, click here to download a PDF. Or check out this map to find a location nearest to you!

For additional information about these open sites, please call Project Bread’s Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

Have a great summer!

NECNMissionHillFarmSchool

New England Channel News (NECN) Making the Grade report recently highlighted the unique partnership between the Mission Hill School and The Farm School in Athol, MA.  The Farm School is an educational non-profit that has been teaching students and adults about sustainability and farming for 25 years. Since 1997, the Mission Hill School has been partnering with The Farm School to bring students out to the farm each year for some hands on learning.  Check out the video on NECN.com!

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The application for FFVP for the 2014-2015 school year is now open!

The USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federally funded program that provides fresh produce snacks (beyond school lunch and breakfast programs) to elementary schools during the school day.

For the first time ever, all Boston Public Elementary Schools are eligible to apply due to the district’s Community Eligibility status.

Why should you apply for FFVP at your elementary school?

The Fresh and Fruit and Vegetable Program is a chance for our students to receive an additional serving of fruits and vegetables during the school day, an opportunity to increase their familiarity with different fruits and vegetables and a chance to encourage lifelong healthier snacking habits.

If interested, click here to download the application form.  Email completed forms to Mackenzie Sehlke (msehlke[at]bostonpublicschools.org) by close of business on May 16, 2014. NO late applications will be considered. Please contact Mackenzie if you have any questions regarding the program application process.

MissionHill_FarmSchool_CarrotSoupCollageLast Friday, Chef Cristina Garcia from The Farm School brought a farm fresh carrot soup for the students to sample at the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain.

The Farm School, a nonprofit educational farming program, located in Athol, has been a central part of a child’s Mission Hill School education since the school’s inception in 1997. Each year, all children, from our youngest to oldest, visit the farm. Visits grow as children grow: younger children visit for a day while children in the 5th grade and older go for three days and two nights each year. While there, children help with the everyday work of the farm including planting, harvesting, cooking, and cleaning. Some of the most favorite moments have included cooking, milking cows, collecting eggs, making maple sugar, and learning how to care for animals and care for the land.

The Mission Hill students and staff loved the carrot soup and some even came back three times for more! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try making it at home:

The Farm School Carrot Soup
Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cups Yellow onions, chopped (2 medium)
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced (4 cloves)
5 cups Carrots, diced (2 lbs)
3 cups Potatoes, diced (3/4 lbs)
3 cups Turnips, diced (3/4 lbs)
5 tsp Cumin, ground
2 tsp Salt (to taste)
10 cups Water
4 tsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Honey
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Pepper (to taste)

Directions:
1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onions, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
4. Stir in carrots, potatoes, turnips, cumin, salt and water.
5. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
6. Puree soup with an immersion blender. Or carefully blend in small batches in a regular blender.
7. Pour soup back into large pot. Whisk in lime juice, honey and heavy cream.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, crema, toasted pepitas.

Also a special thank you to Cafeteria Manager Chris Whitley and his staff in the kitchen, and the Margarita Muniz High School students who helped hand out samples in the cafeteria!

February is American Heart Month! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month and fresh produce than by making Heart Healthy Valentines.

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Try making fruit kabobs and yogurt dip or red pepper and humus for Valentine’s Day. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut my pineapple, but you can use any shape or fruit you like. Red peppers and white humus mimic Valentine’s Day colors, and are full of nutrients that promote a strong heart.

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Give your sweetheart a healthy Valentine and keep their heart healthy all year long!

Fruit Kabobs with Fluffy Fruit Dip
6 servings

Ingredients for dip:
1 cup fruit-flavored, low-fat yogurt
1 cup fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon honey

Ingredients for kabobs:
6 to 8 pineapple chunks
6 to 8 whole strawberries
1 banana, cut into 1⁄2 chunks
6 to 8 red or green grapes
6 wooden skewers

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, make dip by mixing together yogurt, whipped topping and honey.
2. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
3. Thread one piece of each fruit onto a skewer.
4. Repeat until the fruit is gone or skewers are full.
5. Serve with dip.
Variation: Use any of your kids’ favorite fruits.
Serving size: 1/6 of recipe

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 64 Fat: 0.4 g Saturated fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 1.9 mg Sodium: 26 mg Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
Fiber: 1.1 g Protein: 2.5 g

Recipe provided courtesy of Eat Right Press, from Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

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