SVVSD, we’ve always said we love you berry much. In fact, we’re bananas for you, and we especially love the careful and inspired way Nutrition Services prioritizes local, fresh, healthy foods. We think that attention is cherry special, and to be celebrated.
Too much? Maybe, but we’re far from the only ones who think SVVSD schools are doing a grape job when it comes to offering nutritious foods. In fact, the USDA recently honored the St. Vrain Valley School District as the Colorado recipient for it’s “One in a Melon” award! Back in March, all states were invited to vote for the school district with top farm-to-school programs, one with exemplary initiatives and inspiring results. “We were notified about the opportunity right after spring break,” SVVSD School Wellness Coordinator Sarah Harter says. “There was no application process, you just had to have public support. And we do! It’s very exciting.”
Among the many items that served to highlight what makes SVVSD stand out among the crowds is how last year, SVVSD Nutrition Services served over 900,000 pounds of local produce to students. What’s more, the district dished up even more this school year, just completed. Nutrition Services also provide local milk, beans, and tortillas. From buying local food to planting school gardens, to bringing food journeys to life in personal, informative ways, SVVSD Schools truly embrace the meaning of bringing “farm to school”.
Another aspect of commendable significance in how our district meets the needs of its students is, the care doesn’t end with the school day, or year. This year, we have seen the fruitfulness of a marvelous partnership between City of Longmont Children, Youth and Families Division located at the Youth Center and Boulder’s Bridge House, a non-profit which addresses homelessness in Boulder County, providing numerous opportunities to help people improve their lives. One such opportunity is Community Table Kitchen. Through this unique enterprise, Bridge House both feeds the hungry (providing more than 80,000 meals each year to people in need) and provides culinary arts job training to interested homeless people. Among the recipients of meals prepared by the Community Table Kitchen culinary arts program that employs homeless men and women in Bridge House’s Ready to Work program is the City of Longmont youth via a free after school supper program which began this past November.
This summer, Longmont’s Children, Youth and Families Division is partnering with the district and other community groups to help keep children fed, particularly those whose families depend on free or reduced-priced lunches throughout the academic year. Last summer, St. Vrain Valley School District launched a community lunch program with two sites in Longmont, expanding to four sites in Longmont and one in Frederick this year, says Nutrition Director Shelly Allen. The USDA’s summer program covers costs for youth 18 and under; thanks to a two-year grant secured by the city’s Children, Youth, and Families Department from Kaiser Permanente, adult meals are also provided. Allen says the district anticipates serving about 500 meals throughout summer months..
In addition to food served at meal sites, Longmont’s Recreation Department offers free games and crafts, and Community Food Share is bringing a mobile food pantry to some food sites. Ollin Farms is also participating, bringing fresh produce samples to the various sites. There is food insecurity, here in our own community. There is also caring, and compassion, creative ingenuity, and a melon-and-one promising things that make our hearts beet with hope and happiness. Way to go, SVVSD, and our whole #HealthyLongmont community! Keep the momentum going!