CHS students get a special visit from a Chef.
We often think of school lunch as cardboard pizza and grey green beans, but for students at Concord Community Schools, lunch looks very different. Over the past year, students have enjoyed fresh, locally grown fruits and vegeta- bles as part of their school lunch. In the fall of 2008, Food Service Director Alan Breneman began a Farm to School program in the school district and started sourc- ing produce from area farmers. Mr. Breneman became connected to local farmers through a partner- ship with Food System Economic Partnership, a non-profit in south- east Michigan that works to link farmers with consumers.
As the 2009 school year begins to take shape, Mr. Breneman has expanded the district’s Farm to School program to include greater variety and more frequent offer- ings of local produce. Through the program, students learn who their farmers are and where they can buy fresh fruits and vegeta- bles to eat at home. They are reminded to think locally through banners and signs hanging in the cafeteria and later this week they will learn how to prepare these fresh local ingredients.
Earlier this week, Chef Brian Renz from Taher, a professional food management company, visit- ed Concord Schools and taught students how to prepare dishes such as Orange Chicken Stir-fry, Chili Cheese Relenos, Pork Taco Al Pastor or Chipotle Pepper Potatoes using ingredients from Kyrst Farms of Concord and Fusilier Family Farms of Manchester. Chef Renz’s visit comes at a time when awareness of school lunch and the foods our students eat is increasing.
At the end of the month, the Child Nutrition Act expires and several groups are calling for the reauthorization of this act to focus on funding farm to school pro- grams. Farm to School programs are good for the local economy as money spent on food purchases remain in the community, allow- ing for economic development and job creation. According to the National Farm to School Network “for every dollar spent on local foods in schools, one to three dollars circulate in the local economy.” For Michigan, that’s great news. As the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation, our children have the opportunity to eat fresh, delicious, nutritious fruits and vegetables, while simultaneously helping boost the economy.
To learn more about Farm to School in southeast Michigan and how you can get involved visit http://fsepmichigan.org/programs_projects/schools or contact Michaelle Rehmann, FSEP Farm to Food Service Program Director at email@example.com, or (734) 222-3817.
Chef Brian Renz conducted cooking demonstrations for Concord High School students, using local ingredients. For the cost of $4.50 per person, the students were able to eat Cheese Chili Rellano, Pork Taco Al Pastor with fresh Corn Tortillas or Chipolte Pepper Potatoes, which they had just watched him prepare.
The surrounding pictures, taken by Carole Rice, were during the lunch hour.