Bridging the Gap Between Cafeteria and Classroom in New London

Big things are happening with farm to school in New London. The school district has a team of administrators, teachers, principals, non-profit organizations, and FoodCorps service members who are working towards one shared goal: “Every New London student will graduate educated and empowered to grow food, eat well, and live a healthy life.”

The folks working toward this goal and leading the initiatives are innovative and inspiring. Food Service Director Sam Wilson has been essential in sourcing local produce for her meal programs. She’s partnered with FoodCorps for four years now, to enhance the healthy school environment with hands-on nutrition and garden lessons. New this school year is an exciting collaboration with Brigaid.  Brigaid is placing professional chefs in New London cafeterias, making school lunch more like fine dining—real plates, new recipes, and more scratch cooking.

This new effort, coupled with our service members seems to be a winning recipe (pun intended). Our two corps members in New London, Jess and Katie, are creating an interactive cafeteria environment. They know that if students experience new foods in some way—through tasting it, cooking it, or growing it—they are more likely to eat it and enjoy it. So, as the chefs start to roll out new recipes like roasted tomato soup and seasoned watermelon, students are giving feedback that is considered before the final product makes it onto the menu.  At the same time, Jess and Katie are also creating interactive lessons and activities  to expand upon students’ knowledge of where food comes from and how it grows.  This leaves students feeling excited and empowered to make healthy meal choices on their own!

Special thanks to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for supporting our increased service member presence in New London this year!