Dubuque Schools serve up locally grown, farm fresh food

Published: Oct. 6, 2016 at 4:04 PM CDT
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Eating local has become more popular across the United States.

On Thursday, some Dubuque schools held an event that celebrates schools eating food grown within 150 miles.

There are several benefits to the farm to school model, including helping the local economy and educating students about how things are grown. But only about 42 percent of U.S. schools take advantage of the program.

No matter what the cafeteria staff is serving up, there's a certain lunch every kid looks forward to.

"We have chicken nuggets, and those are really good ones," said Xander Wiskus.

"Mozzarella bread sticks and chicken nuggets," said Natalie Vo.

It's no secret the food kids love, isn't always the healthiest.

"I think they are accustomed to it, that's what they are eating at home," said Dubuque Schools Food and Nutrition Manager Joann Franck.

Franck has been planning the district's Midwest Menu meal for almost six months.

"Today, we are having corn, bread roll, cinnamon apples, milk and chicken," said Vo.

Fourth grade students at Prescott Elementary devoured the meal.

So why not serve locally grown, farm fresh food every day? Franck says there's a simple answer. Supply and demand.

"When you're serving maybe a thousand pounds of corn, where do you get that and how do you get that? It's tough locally to get that," said Franck.

Franck says food supply companies are more capable of providing the mass quantities on a day to day basis. But school leaders know the stakes are high.

"I think we are working towards that. It's been a collaborative effort between farmers and school districts throughout Iowa," said Franck.