Inside the Story: Students grow food used in their school cafeterias

Inside the Story: Students grow food used in their school cafeterias (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A program in the Jordan School District won the One-in-a-Melon award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for taking fresh food from a garden directly to district cafeterias.

The Landscape Management and Green House Production class is part of the district's JATC program.

"Everything we grow here gets sent to the Jordan School District to be used," said Brett Milliken, who teaches the class.

The new program is held inside a state-of-the-art, 9,000 square-foot greenhouse and is equipped with a heating and cooling system.

Students learn the art of farming, and how to grow a variety of plants and herbs.

"We have everything from popcorn, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, charred lettuce, radishes, turnips, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins," said Milliken.

Students like the idea that what they grow and pick ends up on the plates of thousands of students in the district.

"Weeding and stuff doesn't feel as hard because you know that it's doing good," said student Faith Hyde.

"Kind of helps us realize that the stuff we eat here in school doesn't just come from a farm somewhere in who knows where," said Porter Royce, another student.

Since June, they've already pumped out 400 pounds of produce from the garden. They hope to double that by the end of picking season.

"The students in the class really take ownership of what they are doing," said Milliken. "They get excited when they know that someone in their community is going to be benefiting from what they are doing."

Healthy meals for the students is a top priority for Jordan School District.

"It's important for them to have all the nutrients," said Katie Bastian, a registered dietitian for the district. "They need the energy so they can think clearly, so they can learn in their classrooms."

As a result of its efforts, the district won the "One-in-a-Melon" Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means it is best in the state for bringing produce from the farm to the school.

"I think it's awesome," said Milliken.

Everyday, the Jordan School District serves up about 33,000 meals.

The district delivers about one kind of produce item a week to its 54 schools.

For more about the JATC program, visit this website.