Archive for the ‘local food in schools’ Category

New Community Garden at Exeter High School

Monday, June 20th, 2011

bilde-1.jpegThe new community garden at Exeter High School is the result of a number of collaborators working together to create a wonderfully integrated program — from the garden to the cafeteria!


Service project sets healthy goals for EHS dining


Twelve Exeter High School seniors left their mark at the school this past Monday by helping build a community garden full of organic herbs and vegetables to be utilized within the school cafeteria.


As part of the Class of 2011’s community service project, four beds were built behind the school, filled with various herbs, greens and other healthy vegetables. The project was headed by EHS’s Environmental Club, Master Gardener and UNH Cooperative Extension member Margaret Theobald, and health and wellness counselor Tracey Miller.


“We’re trying to work more on letting students know where their food is coming from,” said EHS teacher and Environmental Club leader John Brough.


Brough and Miller said the idea for an organic garden at the school came from the national nutritional movement called the Action for Healthy Kids Initiative, which aims to end childhood obesity. Brough said the school wanted to get involved with the cause, which is supported by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. “There’s a local garden at the White House these days,” he said.


Theobald of Exeter said the beds will be maintained by students, teachers and community volunteers. “This is a real school and community effort,” she said. “I was absolutely delighted to help out my community.”


The school’s Food Services Director Jeanne Pierce said the long-term goal of the garden is for the cafeteria to provide its own herbs and vegetables. She said the cafeteria has already started using some of the garden’s products, such as chives and scallions, and staff and students are learning how to incorporate these items into their cooking.


“The food service staff is getting more training on cooking with greens,” said Pierce. She said the dining staff is excited to learn “creative recipes” they can serve to the students, adding that they recently introduced kale chips into their menu. “It’s a learning process,” she said.


Pierce said the cafeteria already is supporting the local community by allotting $100 to be spent each week on local products, such as vegetables or fish, from local farmers. The school also plans to implement an “eat local day” once a week in the cafeteria. Read more at…

Fish to School Program

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

From the latest NH Farm to School Program newsletter, a new variation on bringing local food to our schools:


Fish to School


The idea of Fish to School started over a year ago at a seacoast Farm to School matchmaking event. Carolyn Eastman of Eastman’s Fish and Paddy Anderson of Granite State Fish began making school connections by providing Gulf of Maine shrimp for a “Taste It Day” at Little Harbor School in Portsmouth. Soon thereafter, the Exeter school district began purchasing fish for their menu. This was preceded by a fish filleting class for the cafeteria staff.


Now fresh caught local fish is served regularly at Seabrook, Exeter, Hampton, Hampton Falls, and North Hampton schools.  Recipes for fish cakes, baked fish with crumbs, fish chowder and fish tacos are provided to food service staff.  The Eastmans are also freezing fish which allows fish to be available in bulk when needed by the schools and also brings costs down. Varieties of fish available vary with the time of year, but examples of some of the species you can expect are Cod, Pollock, Hake and Red Fish.


For more information contact:


To learn more about the NH Farm to School program:

Field Report: Brookford Farm visits Dover High School

Friday, April 15th, 2011



As part of their field experience, UNH Nutritional Science students — Vivien Fam, Lauren Goldthwaite, Erin Greenhalgh, Sarah Iske, and Kim Mayo — report on Brookford Farm’s recent visit to Dover High School:


Hello Seacoast Community! Mary Brower of Brookford Farm in Rollinsford, NH came to Dover High School to share yogurt on Friday, April 8th. The focus of the partnership with farmers and chefs at Dover Public Schools is to promote healthful, local food. The project provides education first, before naively trying to change habitual eating patterns. The process began as a capstone project researched by Matt Benham, UNH EcoGastronomy Dual Major graduate, and is now in action thanks to a team of five Nutritional Science Field Experience undergrads.


The event was coordinated to promote a simple, organic food option and to provide educational materials that boast the health benefits, like basic nutrition information per serving: calories, fat and protein. The term organic was defined, so students could begin to understand the lasting health and environmental impact of foods grown without the use of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms. Simply put, raw, local foods taste better!


dsc07684.JPGBrookford Farm provided five gallons of plain, low-fat organic yogurt. For those students who preferred a sweeter treat, a drizzle of local honey was provided as a natural sweetener. Mary also brought pamphlets, posters, and a variety of flours to show the students diversity of products made on the farm.


The high school students were very interactive, as they were able to taste the delicious yogurt and learn information about the farm through pictures, and by chatting with Mary. By the end of lunch, the bucket of yogurt was nearly gone!


The UNH students gathered an outstanding amount of feedback through a survey that they created and distributed during the tasting. The survey responses were quite positive and will provide needed information as to whether or not Brookford Farm yogurt will be added to Dover High School’s yogurt bar. Either way, the event gave our community and high school students a taste of the local food scene. For more information visit or Facebook:


Food for thought… another event coming up at Dover High School:


Chef Evan Hennessy, April 29th 

Later in April, local chef and owner of Flavor Concepts, Evan Hennessy, will be accompanying the UNH students at Dover High School for a cook-in! He will work in the kitchen to whip up a tasty chicken stir-fry that will be given to the students as a 4-ounce tasting. Chef Evan will use all fresh ingredients and locally farmed chicken from Lasting Legacy in his recipe. We hope to “wow” the students into a new menu option. And surveys will be provided as a way to gain feedback. The pressure is on… if the results are high, the menu cycle will include Chef Evan’s stir-fry!

Riverside & Brookford Farms at Dover Schools

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

dsc07339.JPGMore great things happening in local schools — UNH Nutritional Science students report on their field experience in Dover: 

Ciao! Seacoast Community. As five UNH Nutritional Science Students, we teamed up to complete a Field Experience project at Dover Public School District SAU 11 The focus is to promote local and healthy food options for K-12 students. The Dover-UNH relationship was established three years ago. Pilot projects are put into action to initiate a revamped outlook on school food. We are proud to take part.


For several weeks we have invited local farmers and locovore chefs into the high school café to share food products and culinary expertise with students and staff. Our goal is to educate the high school students so they understand and learn to appreciate the health, environmental and social outcomes of choosing local foods over conventional processed. Cost can be limiting, but we hope to push more local food options into the menu cycle for all K-12. It is doable with a little creativity and community backing. Another important task, we are surveying students for needed feedback before jumping into unsustainable change. And we are using compostable tasting cups and spoons to reduce waste.


Our team will share updates as we move through the next few months to encourage foodservice directors, teachers, parents and community members to do the same in other seacoast public school districts. Information will be posted to the Dover school food website, noted above. Future guests include: Evan Hennessey, Flavor Concepts; Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet; Debra Locke, Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm; and Curtis Gould, The Soup Guy. Stick around—this project could change the lives of many.


Riverside Vegetable Farm, March 4th 

In March, we were fortunate enough to have farmer David Tuttle from Riverside Vegetable Farm create a mock farmers market for students to browse and take notice of the type of produce available this time of year in New Hampshire. Dave was extremely helpful answering all of the questions that the students and faculty asked. Dave brought a sampling of turnips, potatoes, chard, greens (a mix of 13 varieties) jarred goods, and eggs. Not to be underestimated—students were interested in purchasing product! It was a pleasure to work with Dave. For more information on Riverside Vegetable Farm, feel free to browse


Brookford Farm, April 8th 

This Friday, Dover High School foodservice will host guest Farmer, Mary Brower from Brookford Farm located in Rollinsford, NH. She will present a table of products from the farm during school lunch. A little about Mary…  she came to farming after spending many years as a professional cook, followed by a teaching career which spanned alternative and outdoor education programs to high school, post-secondary, and graduate settings. She now coordinates Brookford Farm’s CSA program, writes recipes and newsletters for the farm, and is developing outreach programs to Seacoast communities. Brookford is an organic farm that strives for local business from the seacoast.


Mary Brower will share information about Brookford’s farming practices and she will spotlight available produce. Mary will also give a 3 oz. sample of plain, low fat yogurt for the students to taste. Dover high school has a salad and yogurt bar featured one day a week that offers Stonyfield yogurt. We hope the students rally for Brookford! For more information visit or Facebook:


Good eats!


— Vivien Fam, Lauren Goldthwaite, Erin Greenhalgh, Sarah Iske, Kim Mayo

UNH Nutritional Science, Field Experience

Growing School Gardens with FoodCorps

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

foodcorps_poster.jpgJoin the FoodCorps, a new national service program under AmeriCorps, and help to build school gardens and develop Farm to School programs across the country. FoodCorps is seeking young men and women interested in food, agriculture, community organizing, education, health, and public service for their inaugural class, beginning August 15, 2011. With the hope of expanding to all 50 states in the future, 10 states have been selected as initial host sites and are now taking applications:


Hello Friends of FoodCorps!


As you may know, the FoodCorps Service Member application deadline is just around the corner. With just three weeks left, we wanted to remind those of you interested in applying to submit your application by 5 pm Eastern time on April 10, 2011. If you have any questions about the application process or the program itself, feel free to check out our application FAQs or to send me a note!


We also wanted to remind you that FoodCorps will be partnering with ten Host Sites in states across the country, including Maine. To learn about FoodCorps opportunities in Maine through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, please visit our Maine Host Site page, found here:


For those of you interested in sharing information about FoodCorps and our Maine Host Site opportunities with your community, we’d love your help in spreading the word and recruiting Service Members! Feel free to pass around our recruitment video, our website, or e-flyer to your friends, colleagues, organization members, and networks. We’d also love to send you a package of recruitment posters and postcards to distribute, if that’s of interest. Just let me know your mailing address and how many of each you would need.


For more information, contact: Lucy Flores, FoodCorps Recruitment Manager, (213) 290-2713 or,

Kids Making Pasta with Chefs Move to School

Monday, December 13th, 2010

bilde.jpegKids eat up with another great project sponsored by Chefs Move to Schools‘ Kathy Gunst and Evan Mallet, as reported by Amy Bevan at


Author, chef pair up to interest kids in beets and spinach


SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — With one of the region’s top chefs at her side, published food writer Kathy Gunst continued her year-long program to educate and inspire Central School students to eat healthy, visiting last week for a holiday-themed cooking class.


Gunst and Evan Mallet of the Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth, N.H., recently held cooking classes with 14 students in Grades 1-3, hand-cutting fresh, festive pasta, colored red and green by natural ingredients: beets and spinach.


“Everything we’re going to use is fresh, so you can taste the difference,” Gunst told the 6-year-olds, as Mallett unwrapped brightly-colored pasta dough nearby. “You’re in for a real treat.”


Mallett first told students of his own enlightenment to cooking, describing “yucky” beets he had from a can when he was a kid. “I learned later about beets grown in a garden,” he said. “They were totally different.”


The children got involved in every step of the process, including tearing basil, grating fresh Parmesan cheese and measuring olive oil, before sitting down to enjoy the healthy dish as a class. It’s this involvement in the cooking process that Mallett believes excites kids to try new foods. “Being involved in the preparation really opened their minds,” Mallett said. “It made all the difference.”


Cranking the red and green dough through Mallet’s pasta cutting machine was a favorite task with the kids. They each got a turn turning the dough into flat, long ribbons before Gunst cooked the noodles in boiling water.


Matt Kenney, a parent volunteer assisting the chefs with his son Jack’s first-grade class, was stunned when Jack, 6, gave the finished dish a thumb’s up. “He was actually really nervous, because he doesn’t normally like pasta,” Kenney said of his son’s hesitation to participate in the special class. “Now he loves it!”


As she observed the cooking lesson, School Board member Laura Leber was impressed with Gunst’s project, part of the national “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative. “I like the idea of introducing beets and spinach to the kids, because otherwise they may not try those kinds of things,” she said. “They’re really enjoying it and they’re learning a lot.”


For article and recipe for “Bicolor Holiday Pasta,” please visit >

Latest News from NH Farm to School

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

farm_to_school_logo_22.jpgThe latest newsletter from the NH Farm to School Program has arrived chock full of news about local activities here on the Seacoast!


“Chefs Move to Schools” in Portsmouth


Chefs Move to Schools” is part of the “Lets Move!” campaign initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama. The idea is for chefs to get involved in their communities by adopting a school and working with teachers, parents and school nutrition professionals to educate kids about food and nutrition.


The first ever “NH Chefs Move to Schools” event happened in Portsmouth on October 27. Chef Simon Lamper, owner of “Four” restaurant on State Street in Portsmouth, volunteered to spend half a day at the Little Harbor School helping prepare and serve a harvest meal that featured roast turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted root vegetables, cranberry sauce, local apples from Applecrest Orchard in Hampton Falls and pumpkin muffins. The kids loved seeing a uniformed chef in the kitchen and most chose the harvest lunch over the tunafish sandwich option. Chef Simon plans to make a monthly appearance to encourage the students to eat and try more vegetables. The Little Harbor School also has a school garden that has provided lettuce and tomatoes regularly to the cafeteria.


For more Farm to School stories, including “Stout Oak Farm & Epping Schools” and “Applecrest Farm & Exeter Schools,” the full newsletter can be read here > For more information or to sign up for the NH Farm to School newsletter, go to:

An open invitation to Exeter area folks

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Dear Parents, Students, Farmers, Educators, Food Service Staff, Chefs, Business Owners and Community Members,

On November 18, as part of the Action for Healthy Kids initiative, we are launching a grassroots, informal group called “citizens for community wellness.” This group is being created to bring together people interested in healthier schools and a healthier community. We will come together and listen to the positive examples of what is being done, talk about some of the challenges and dream about the possibilities for a healthier community.

Already, several Exeter schools are buying from some local farms and Eastman’s Local Catch to bring in fresh, local food to the schools. But Jeanne Pierce, the Food Services Director for Exeter Cooperative School District and New Hampshire Healthy School Coalition, would like to do more and we want to hear from others too. With the Seacoast Eat Local’s winter farmers’ markets being held at the High School, we see there are more opportunities for bringing fresh local food into the schools and educating families about the healthiest options available. Everyone will play a part in advocating for healthier menus for children not just at school, but throughout the entire community. 

Please join Jeanne and others for this first meeting to share your hopes, concerns and to tell us more about what you would like to see moving forward. What can the schools do? What do parents need? How can we educate children about making healthier choices? What can farmers provide? This meeting is open to community members in Exeter and surrounding communities.

The meeting will take place from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Exeter High School Auditorium on Thursday, November 18.  We hope you will join us. Please invite your friends, colleagues, your children and other students and if you can let me know if you’ll be coming. Email Tracey Miller at

If you can’t make it, but would like to be included on the mailing list for future events and meetings, please also let me know ( and I’ll make sure to include you.

Please join us to be a part of citizens for community wellness!

Tracey Miller, Jean Pierce and Tammi Martin