Healthy Eating with Local Produce

How It All Began....

Healthy Eating with Local Produce (HELP) is a Farm to School program dedicated to bringing fresh local foods into schools and supporting local agriculture. We have developed relationships with area farmers to provide whole fresh foods to Maplewood Richmond Heights School District through the Salus Processing Center. HELP uses the processing center to turn food into items that can be stored for year-round use in the cafeteria. In Year One, four primary foods were used for processing: apples, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Some of our favorite processed items are marinara, sweet potato fries, and applesauce. HELP works closely with school foodservice staff to create delicious healthy foods for students while educating them about the benefits of a more healthful diet. The HELP grant is designed to test if food processing and distribution can be fiscally sustainable for school districts.

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Program Goals

Goal 1 - Provide healthy locally, sustainably grown produce and proteins to children in the school environment.

Goal 2 - Provide greater involvement of students in the menu process, more integration of sustainable food systems into existing curriculum, and provide community outreach experiences to the students and their families in sustainable food systems, nutrition, and gardening.

Goal 3 – Establish a culinary education program to train school staff and area youth to increase the use of locally grown produce and proteins.

Goal 4 – Promote increased physical activity through gardening.