Highlights Local Food Movement in Schools
Vista, CA | Sept. 2017 — Farmers Markets are coming to every elementary school in Vista Unified during the 2017-18 school year. The past several years have seen schools in a rotation to host the event every three years, cycling through all of the elementary sites in that time. The visits have been so popular and successful that the WaveCrest Cafe team worked to bring the visits to every elementary site this year.
At each visit, Loren Werth, President of Food 4 Thought, LLC, speaks with students about the nutrition values and great taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. Each student is then given a voucher for $2.00, and they are able to pick and choose the items that they’d like.
“Farmers Markets are a great way to generate interest and excitement in fresh produce,” says Amy Haessly, Vista USD’s Nutrition Education & Training Supervisor and a Registered Dietitian. “The kids are excited to taste, touch and smell fresh produce, and that also gives us a chance to highlight that we offer fresh and delicious produce every day at their school’s salad bars.” Haessly has been a leading voice on the San Diego County Farm To School Task Force, helping Vista USD develop a strategic Farm To School Plan.
Jamie Phillips, Director of Child Nutrition Services for the district, has expanded the number of local produce suppliers the district uses, and plans to do even more. “San Diego has one of the most vibrant agricultural communities in the nation,” says Phillips, “and that allows us to have access to some of the freshest, highest quality items anywhere, and to offer that for the children we serve every day.”
Phillips works with Vista-based Solutions Farms, and has brought on board Fallbrook-based Good Taste Farm, as well as Sage Mountain Farm, an organic farm in Anza, to expand the district’s offering of locally grown food. “Having produce that can be harvested ad delivered to our schools, often on the same day, means that we are offering the freshest, tastiest, and most nutrient-dense produce available.”
Vista USD’s WaveCrest Cafe (the name for their cafeterias) has been a leader in changing the face of school food, gaining local, statewide and national recognition for the diversity of the menu and robust Farm To School program.
Our friend Loren Werth of Food 4 Thought made a visit to Mission Meadows with tables full of fresh fruits and veggies and an opportunity for students to go shopping. Each student was given a ticket for $2 of produce. They then went through the line and selected their favorite items.
Food 4 Thought Farmers Markets will be visiting all Vista USD elementary school along the following schedule:
9/26: Temple Heights at 11:45 AM
9/27: Olive at 7:50 AM; Foothill Oak at 11:40 AM
9/28: Grapevine at 11:35 AM; Monte Vista at 8:05 AM
Beaumont, Bobier, Empresa, Lake and Vista Academy will all receive visits in May of 2018.