A fresh approach for feeding students - Albuquerque Journal

A fresh approach for feeding students

What you put in your body really matters. The state of New Mexico has, over the past several years, increased the funding for public schools to purchase and serve students fresh fruits and vegetables. Many districts and charter schools benefit from these funds to support healthy eating. South Valley Prep is one such school.

South Valley Prep, a small charter middle school in Albuquerque, secured Farm to School funding for the first time two years ago. It was at the same time that the school had committed to implementing a schoolwide initiative that supported the health and wellness of the whole child. This initiative went beyond the average physical education and basic health class to include serving teenagers fresh, clean and organic food. Trust me, this is not easy! Convincing teenagers to snack on carrots and turnips instead of Hot Cheetos or to eat salad instead of ramen noodles for lunch – the struggle continues!

However difficult the task, we continue to persist in our commitment and belief that we can positively impact the overall wellness of our students through the food they eat at school and that wellness has a direct impact on the academic and social emotional success of our students. What began with some funding and a field trip to our community farm grew into an explicit collaborative effort to teach our students that what they eat affects more than their physical being. Soon, they began to understand that healthy food means much more than a healthy body; it also means a healthy mind.

The next year, with a little more Farm to School funding from the New Mexico Public Education Department and a little more intentional collaboration with our like-minded partners, Swan Kitchen and La Plazita Institute, South Valley Prep students began to go to the farm on a weekly basis. We were able to collectively include more local fresh fruits and vegetables in our meals. At the farm, students began to plant, tend and harvest much of the fruits and vegetables they see on their plates at school. What hard work that was and what an impact it made on their understanding of our community farmers, traditions and our culture. They began to make connections between the healthy plants that grow in our earth and the healthy things that grow in our lives. They began to understand that weeds can overcome a garden just as unhealthy choices can overwhelm their lives. Powerful stuff!

Each year, the Farm to School investments increase the opportunities our students have to be healthy. The Farm to School funding has allowed our school to make a big difference both within and outside our small school community in so many different ways. Besides the obvious economic benefits, this program has made, and continues to make, a priceless impact on our youth.

I applaud the state for making the Farm to School Program a priority by continuing to fund this initiative. While as educators we continue to work diligently to eliminate obstacles to our students’ success, the Farm to School program continues to foster healthy habits that go well beyond food.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » A fresh approach for feeding students


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
APS' continuing issues with HVAC cause health concerns
ABQnews Seeker
District says it has 385 open ... District says it has 385 open work orders related to air-conditioning
2
NM reporter's rally ejection ignites controversy over press access
ABQnews Seeker
Ronchetti campaign claims journalist's publication is ... Ronchetti campaign claims journalist's publication is a left-wing advocacy company
3
Nonprofit helping vets expands to a new location
ABQnews Seeker
Heroes Walk Among Us aims to ... Heroes Walk Among Us aims to get veterans back on their feet
4
The inaugural New Mexico Asian Film Festival strives to ...
Entertainment
The inaugural festival will take place ... The inaugural festival will take place from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at Balloon Fiesta Park. The film festival is part of the two-day ...
5
Bawarchi Biryanis delivers a solid rendition of its namesake ...
Dining Reviews
Prices at Bawarchi – ... Prices at Bawarchi – the word roughly translates into 'chef' – are comparable to those the Heights' two well-established Indian ...
6
Gravity Bound Brewing Co. wins its first NM Brewers ...
Blogs
Gravity Bound Brewing Co. took home ... Gravity Bound Brewing Co. took home the trophy with a hazy IPA. It is the first win for the brewery and it is the ...
7
Vegan festival to feature vendors, cooking demos and more
Entertainment
Red & Green VegFest will takes ... Red & Green VegFest will takes place on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque.
8
Hooveriii to make tour stop at Sister on Friday, ...
Entertainment
Hooveriii (pronounced Hover Three) released 'A ... Hooveriii (pronounced Hover Three) released 'A Round of Applause' in July.
9
NEEDTOBREATHE opening for OneRepublic at Isleta
Entertainment
NEEDTOBREATHE will make a stop on ... NEEDTOBREATHE will make a stop on OneRepublic's 'Never Ending Summer Tour' at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Isleta Amphitheater.