Jordan School District using technology, local produce to beef up school lunch

Published: Tuesday, July 30 2013 6:25 p.m. MDT

But there is still some confusion on what is being served in schools, Bastian said, with district dietitians frequently yielding calls from concerned parents. She said the app is intended to address those concerns by providing as much information as possible in an easy-to-use format, and so far feedback from parents has been positive.

"With the new regulations that came out last year, the healthier school lunches, parents have some idea but not the whole idea," Bastian said. "This is a good way to get exactly what’s being served to your students every single day without every person having to call our office and talk to us personally, so I think it’s getting the word out to the public much more efficiently."

She said the new guidelines, and school lunch in general, are ultimately geared at teaching healthy living habits to children. She gave the example of Tuesday's entree at Fox Hollow, corn dog bites, that are now baked turkey dogs with a whole wheat breading as opposed to the traditional fried convenience store variety.

That thinking extends to the farm-to-school program, she said, as local produce arrives quicker, fresher and tastes better.

It also saves the district money. Bastian didn't have exact figures since the arrangements with local farmers are still being made, but she gave the example of a single case of raspberries which costs $21 when purchased directly from a local grower compared to the $38 bill the district would receive from a wholesale distributor.

"The more fruits and vegetables I can get them to take, the better for us and for them," she said. "Just giving them more exposure here, I hope it will help them with their well-being even outside of school."

Jana Cruz, director of Nutrition Services for Jordan School District, said she spent Monday out in the fields with a local farmer checking the year's crop and planning a schedule for when delivery can begin. Arrangements have been made with four local farming operations, she said, with more expected before the prime harvest season.

"We really are focused on the students and piquing their interests so they can see healthy choices taste great," she said.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

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