Decorah Community School District

The District

The School(s)

  • Decorah Middle School

    Age Group: 6-8
    School Size: Medium (301-900)
    School Environment: Town Remote
    School F/R: 24%
    School ADP: 62%

The Project

  • Project Description

    Using Local Produce To Make Global Recipes

    Every school day in October, the 550 students at Decorah Middle School sampled recipes from around the world. This program not only connected students to global foods, they also made local connection by using local, seasonal fruit and vegetables whenever possible.

    Cafeteria staff prepared and served recipes alongside information about where and how this food is traditionally prepared and eaten, including a map and flag. The students were also given information about the star ingredient and the recipe.

    With an entire month to travel the world through food, the students got to learn about (and taste) familiar and not so familiar fruits and vegetables.

    “Sharing recipes and new ingredients with students was my objective, as well as exploring the students’ tasting pallets,” explains Chad Elliott, culinary specialist for the district. “I was thrilled that it was such a successful project.”

  • Successes
    • The Food Service Director was able to really get to know the students’ likes and dislikes and gain their trust.
    • Although some of the ingredients and recipes they tasted were challenging and intimidating the students handled them like champions. They gave unknown fruits and vegetables a chance and most of the time were pleasantly surprised.
    • Decorah hopes to be able to incorporate some of these taste test recipes into their food service menus.
  • Challenges
    • The Food Service Director had a difficult time prepping everything and timing the seasonal vegetables. Because of an early growing season she ended up having to purchase several items from their prime vendor instead of following their original plan to purchase local fruits and vegetables.

From the Blog

The Inside Scoop on Project Produce

Your Guide to the Project Produce Grant Application

Have you heard about Project Produce? Launched by Chef Ann Foundation and superfoods company Healthy Skoop in 2014, this nationwide grant helps schools establish vibrant and healthy meal programs through fun and engaging nutrition education projects. We...

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