Navajo Parent & FoodCorps Member Growing Kids Appetite for Healthy Food at STAR School

By Lucas Oliver Oswald

The STAR School, a charter school on the border of the Navajo Nation Native American Reservation in Arizona, has a tradition. Each year they give their graduating class of eighth graders the freedom to pick the menu for their celebratory feast.

The typical eighth grader’s dream meal probably doesn’t prove to be overly nutritious. And in Navajo Nation in particular, diet-related illness is common. Junk food is prevalent, vegetables are a rarity, and childhood diabetes and obesity run rampant. The reservation is the size of West Virginia yet contains only ten grocery stores. Despite all this, for the first time the eighth graders at STAR School chose to serve kale.

“They had total choice,” says Mark Sorenson, co-founder of the school. “They could have picked soda. That kind of blew our minds.”

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