Madison Metropolitan School District
Learnings from the Field
Gompers Elementary School
Age Group: K-5
School Size: Small (Under 300)
School Environment: Urban
School F/R: 56%
School ADP: 49%
Kids Root for Winter Veggies and Spring for a Salad
Gompers Elementary held three events over the course of the school year. The “Root For Winter Veggies!” and “Spring for a Salad!” events showcased the seasonal produce available at that time of year. The fruits and vegetables were presented to the students as part of a recipe and separately. Staff encouraged everyone to sample a variety at each event.
The “6 Plant Parts – Taste Them All!" event also featured a selection of fruit and vegetable samples, but this time students were challenged to choose samples representing each of the six parts of a plant (root, stem, leaf, flower, seed, fruit). The selections included fruits and vegetables from each part of the plant: tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and more.
The school chose local, seasonal produce where available, and partnered with REAP Food Group, a community non-profit, to source the produce from local farms. They even invited a local farmer to join the students at lunchtime. In addition, staff coordinated a local apple sampling with the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch where all students got an apple to "crunch" into together.
The coordinated efforts were a great success, and gave the students a new opportunity.
“Many of the students had never before tasted such things as sweet potato hummus, roasted asparagus, herb pesto dip, beauty heart radishes, snap peas, or a spinach and microgreen salad,” said Steve Youngbauer, Director of Food Services. “It was great to be able to expose students to new things and to have them like what they tasted.”
- Gompers Elementary School is not regularly reached with Farm to School programming, so Project Produce gave them the opportunity to introduce students to local produce.
- The school was able to expose students to new fruits and vegetables.
- Coming up with appropriate recipes based on the produce available in early spring was difficult.
- Coordinating the sourcing, pick up/delivery of produce, and recipe prep so that it was all properly timed to ensure peak freshness and allowing kitchen staff enough time to prep was challenging.
- Communicating the Farm to School aspect was challenging given the short lunch periods and window for announcements.
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