Well FED Savannah November 2013

Page 27

cutting fresh basil from the school garden

today’s special: vegetarian pizza on whole grain crust

As the younger kids file out, older students come in. This is the crowd that finds the a la carte selection most appealing. They may be augmenting a partial lunch from home – or may just be finicky eaters – or not at all. One young man enthusiastically piles a plastic clamshell full of salad fixings, pours on a river of dressing and takes his seat to devour what is essentially an all-vegetarian lunch. Armstrong still winces at the amount of plastic and paper goods thrown away every day. One of her goals was to incorporate a more green operation into the lunch room and to incorporate menu ingredients and food sourcing concepts into the curriculum. To a degree, that’s happening naturally. A big basket of freshly picked basil sits in the kitchen waiting for prep – the result of the first graders working in the school garden that morning. “They are getting on board with the green thing,” Armstrong said. “It’s a work in progress, but there is an important first step: We have put in a dishwasher so we can get rid of the paper rand plastic plates and plastic utensils.” “We would like to revitalize the school garden and integrate it into the kids’ lessons,” Armstrong said of her plan. “We want to involve the kids in nutrition, cooking techniques and encourage them to try new things, all while still making the food kid-friendly. Lunch items can be paired up with other lesson plans. We will bring in our local farmers and teach green practices. We can show the next generation how it is all interconnected.” The private school has a history of being on the leading edge – it was among the first schools in the region to put iPads in students’ hands. Now, it’s at the forefront of what many – including the President – hope will be a national trend of putting chefs into school lunch rooms.

prepping side salads for students

Scott Searcy handles media relations for the school and is a fan of the lunches himself. The effort is not wasted on him, as he recites the school’s slogan: “Tradition and innovation – and this program with Wendy is just another example of putting words into practice.” Some public schools have had the support of the Obama administration’s high profile initiative “Chefs Move to Schools” program. That plan calls on chefs to adopt schools and work with teachers and school nutrition professionals to help educate kids about food and nutrition. The 66-year-old private school owes its name to its Scottish heritage – not religious affiliations. As a private school it is ineligible to use federal monies to feed its 425 students. There are about 200 students who pay to eat lunch every day – the break-even point for the program to work. Armstrong’s plan is more grassroots and relies upon a forward thinking school administration, support of parents and the appetites of the St. Andrews’ students. And while Armstrong loves dishing out food from the line and meeting and talking to the children, she also relies on a solid crew to back her up. They include Melissa Templeton, head chef; Frances Smith, 2nd chef; Sharonda Wesley head, cashier/cold prep; Michael Knight, dishwasher/prep; and Susan Rowe, coordinator.

to learn more

Thrive Cafe is located at 4700 E Hwy 80 in the Whitemarsh Plaza. You can even pick up some of their prepared goods at Whole Foods, order from them with your Farmbag Delivery or visit them online at www.thrivecafesavannah.com St. Andrews School is located on Wilmington Island.To learn more about the programs they offer please check them out online at www.saintschool.com. Go Lions! wellf edsava nna h. c om | feed 27