Assignment: Education-Passport to Wellness

Published On: Mar 15 2011 12:02:34 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 15 2011 12:02:00 PM CDT
Assignment Education-Passport to Wellness

The community of LaFarge is rather small. Students from preschool through 12th grade walk the halls of this one school building.

But their size isn't stopping them from cooking up something big.

"Today, they're getting string cheese. They're getting whole milk, chocolate milk, and we're also sampling out our two flavors of yogurt," said Kristen Woodhouse, manager of cafe services at Organic Valley.

Organic Valley is just one of seven booths advocating for healthy choices at LaFarge's Passport to Wellness fair.

"We're in danger of for the first time in our nation's history of producing a generation whose life expectancy will not exceed those of their parents," said Leif Erickson, LaFarge wellness committee member. "And that's simply unacceptable. That's why we work as hard as we do here in LaFarge."

The health and wellness fair educated students on healthy snack options, offered taste testing, and health screenings. However, it also gave them important information about new programs within their district like Farm Links.

"It is a program that we combine the school and crop," said Cody Dvorak, LaFarge High School senior. "And we go up to crop over summer and we work with their fields, and stuff like that. And we get to grow our own plants. And then we get to incorporate these plants with the school lunch."

Which has been a major learning opportunity for students.

"I've learned why it's important to eat healthy foods; make sure the schools provide it for you," said Joe Brandl, LaFarge High School sophomore. "I've learned how to cook, how to farm. It's been educational. It's really been fun."

Students were also able to learn more about the district's participation in the county-wide harvest challenge.

"In that challenge, local schools sign up to work with area chef mentors," said Woodhouse. "Students will design the school lunch that's in compliance with USDA nutritional guidelines and also among the finances of the school. So, under $1 a plate."

And the district has even started up a farm to school program which is a national effort to bring in more healthy, local foods. One of the ways they accomplish this goal is through Harvest of the Month.

"One of my rules for when I go into class is all the kids need to try a polite bite of all the foods," said Bjorn Bergman, Vernon County Farm to School Initiative. "And so I always get them to try the food. And a lot of the times they're like this is actually good."

A realization the district hopes will be good for their mind and body.