Every year, KIWI’s National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day brings parents and children together in cafeterias across America.
Check out the scene from some successful school events.
East Elementary Jackson R2 Schools
The Jackson R2 school district held its first Lunch Day to “change the norm from Happy Meals and french fries to healthy meals and friendly smiles,” as its entry essay states, and to showcase the great foods being served in its schools, including locally sourced produce and dairy and bread products. Through the district’s “Eating from the Garden” program, students at several of the schools receive biweekly nutrition education and gain hands-on experience as they plant, weed, water, and harvest the crops in their eight-bed garden.
Hopewell Elementary School
Hopewell, New Jersey
At Hopewell Elementary, meeting students’ health-related needs is crucial, and Lunch Day allows the school to reinforce its commitment to offering children nutritious meal options. Its new organic menu features local produce when possible, with many of the herbs and vegetables grown in the school’s own organic gardens. Hopewell offers three different after-school garden clubs and each year hosts a Farm to School event, where local farmers and chefs offer educational demonstrations and food tastings for students.
Magnolia Montessori School
Students and staff at the Magnolia Montessori School always eat family-style lunches with healthy, farm-fresh ingredients, but Lunch Day gives the school an added opportunity to invite parents to share a healthy meal. Magnolia Montessori has its own backyard garden and maintains relationships with eight area farms to provide local food. The school also embraces hands-on education: Each week the elementary students help budget, plan, purchase, and prepare the snacks for the entire campus and help weigh the school’s recycling to determine how efforts compare to previous weeks.
Bigfork Elementary School
Lunch Day is one of three seasonal events that celebrate food, nutrition, and gardening at Bigfork Elementary. The school created a school garden that’s used as an outdoor classroom for students in grades 1 to 5 as well as eighth-grade health classes. Produce from the garden is harvested and then cooked by students or used in the cafeteria. In addition, students compost in the cafeteria and are looking for more ways to become more sustainable.
Moss Haven Elementary School
This was the third year Moss Haven Elementary participated in National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day with the hope of “bringing families to the table to enjoy healthy food that will carry over into their dining room tables at home,” as the school’s entry stated. Moss Haven has a farm with 21 organic raised vegetable beds with plants for each season, chickens that help students learn about life cycles, and a compost pile for food scraps to help kids reduce their carbon footprint.
Dixon Elementary School
Dixon Elementary celebrated Lunch Day as a way to showcase the relationship between the PTO-supported school garden (the Dixon Innovative Garden) and the food and nutrition program. In addition to introducing an appreciation for healthy foods and incorporating it into the classroom and lunch program, Dixon also recycles and composts, and the garden uses rain barrels to further increase sustainability.