Cordley students enthusiastic about harvesting, eating local produce

Cordley Elementary students admire the size of an onion plant held by school volunteer and parent Kelly Jones in the cafeteria Tuesday, May 17, 2011. For Tuesday's lunch, the students and staff ate fresh produce that the students had recently picked from Lawrence-area farms.

Cordley Elementary students admire the size of an onion plant held by school volunteer and parent Kelly Jones in the cafeteria Tuesday, May 17, 2011. For Tuesday's lunch, the students and staff ate fresh produce that the students had recently picked from Lawrence-area farms. by Mike Yoder

“Sweet.”

That’s how 7-year-old Reed Parker-Timms described the strawberries that he ate for lunch Tuesday at Cordley School. They were the first item to disappear from his tray. He helped pick them the day before at a farm just southeast of town.

“I put my fingers on the green part and then pulled a little and the strawberry came off,” he said. He estimated he picked 50.

There was a lot of enthusiasm about the day’s lunch. That’s because it contained more local produce than usual, and the 310 students — kindergarten through sixth grade — had learned about the health and environment benefits.

In fact, 30 percent more students chose to eat the cafeteria lunch instead of bringing their own.

Students loaded up on local produce at the salad bar: eggs, radishes, lettuce and strawberries. The cookies were made with local sunflowers and flour, and 715 restaurant provided a salad dressing made with local ingredients.

“It’s really good. It’s a lot better than our regular lunches,” said Lourdes Kalusha, a sixth-grader.

The “Farm-to-School” lunch was coordinated by Linda Cottin of Cottin’s Hardware, a local-food enthusiast, and Kelly Jones, a parent. It was the second year for the project. Last year, the entire meal was local, and this year, it was a scaled-down version.

The lunch project cost $365, which were donations collected through the PTA. It paid the West Junior High School student gardeners $90 for 15 pounds of lettuce, washed.

Jones said they plan to serve a full-scale local meal this fall and already have started working with farmers and restaurants.

“We want the kids to be excited about healthy foods and to try new foods that are grown in Kansas,” she said.

Cordley School students pick radishes with the help of parents and volunteers at MADD farm, southwest of Lawrence. The radishes were served the next day for lunch at the school.

Cordley School students pick radishes with the help of parents and volunteers at MADD farm, southwest of Lawrence. The radishes were served the next day for lunch at the school.

Dan Phelps, co-owner of MADD farm, weighs the radishes picked by students at Cordley School. The students picked 7 pounds of radishes at his farm on Sunday, May 15, 2011. They were served in the cafeteria the next day.

Dan Phelps, co-owner of MADD farm, weighs the radishes picked by students at Cordley School. The students picked 7 pounds of radishes at his farm on Sunday, May 15, 2011. They were served in the cafeteria the next day.

Jane Wohletz holds Emily Unekis, whose mom and older silblings were busy picking strawberries Monday, May 16, 2011, at her farm, southeast of Lawrence. They were picking strawberries for lunch at Cordley School.

Jane Wohletz holds Emily Unekis, whose mom and older silblings were busy picking strawberries Monday, May 16, 2011, at her farm, southeast of Lawrence. They were picking strawberries for lunch at Cordley School.

Cordley School students, parents and volunteers pick strawberries Monday, May 16, 2011, at the Wohletz farm, southeast of Lawrence. The strawberries were served the next day for lunch at school.

Cordley School students, parents and volunteers pick strawberries Monday, May 16, 2011, at the Wohletz farm, southeast of Lawrence. The strawberries were served the next day for lunch at school.

Tagged: Farm-to-School lunch, local food, farmers

Comments

easumcooks 7 years, 3 months ago

What a wonderful opportunity.......wish I could have been there..

Commenting has been disabled for this item.