School garden yields healthy harvest

"We continually are talking to them about how food makes you feel," said Holbrook, "and we try to explain to them that they need good food to stay sharp in school."

The food harvested from the garden is used to create meals in the school cafeteria whether it's cooked fresh or processed and stored for the winter. Pureed tomatoes, garlic, carrots, and kale may be combined for a tasty and nutritious tomato soup.

"We don't buy any processed food; we even make all our bread from scratch," said Holbrook. "It's just 42 cents a loaf, and the kids love it."

While students have generally welcomed the new food with open arms and open mouths, some parents were hesitant to accept changes to their kids' school lunches.

"People thought it was more expensive, or they thought it was our philosophy of what's good and we're trying to shove it down their throats," recalled Johnston, but added that many critics have since come to understand the benefits of the change.

While other schools may have interest in using local produce, Holbrook said, they may not have the tools they need, but more and more trainings are being offered to school cafeteria workers on how to cook from scratch.

"That's the biggest thing we want people to get out of this," said Holbrook, "that it's do-able and it's not hard."

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