Just like the crawling squashes in its edible garden, our Chefs Move to Schools partner Phillis Wheatley Elementary is now a part of The Urban School Food Alliance! Miami-Dade County Public Schools this morning announced the formation of an Alliance with the school nutrition programs of New York City, Los Angeles Unified, Chicago, Dallas and Orange County (Orlando) school districts to broaden its purchasing power to drive costs down and quality up for food and non-food supplies. The initial goals of the Alliance are for the district to source a higher quality cut chicken, recyclable/compostable tray, and whole grain , natural breakfast item each would purchase. We can’t be more excited about this news, as it builds on our baby steps with Phillis Wheatley’s Science Club and edible garden in a big way. Each of the districts participating across the country will be serving a common menu on March 20: roasted chicken, brown rice and beans (black or red), broccoli, and fresh seasonal fruit. We plan on visiting cafeteria manager Ms. Theresa McKenzie with our chefs Manny and Steve from Harry’s Pizzeria and incorporating some of the school’s harvested produce into the meal.
“We went to clean the beds with volunteer garden caretaker Keith from the Love n Vegetables community farm in Little Haiti last week,” Chef’s assistant Ellie Groden explained. “We wanted to check up on everything. The tomatoes are coming in, and they need to be trellised. The squashes are starting to crawl out of the raised beds, and the kids were so excited to see that, and that the peppers getting so big!”
Science Coach Ms. Kelley Garcia and her 4th and 5th graders are also growing lots of herbs and unusual veggies including baby thai eggplants that look like little green lightbulbs with cool-looking stripes. Three cheers for our kids and the new school system alliance. We can’t be more proud!