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Shoreline Schools Awarded Farm to School Grant

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has awarded Shoreline School District a $83,838 Farm to School Purchasing Grant for use during the 2022-23 school year. Shoreline is one of 83 recipients selected across the state to receive this funding, which can be used to purchase fresh produce, grains, and protein from participating producers and to fund equipment and additional labor that may be needed to prepare the food items.

The Shoreline Schools Food and Nutrition Services department has identified more than 20 local farms to purchase food from through the Puget Sound Food Hub. The Puget Sound Food Hub represents many farmers from historically underrepresented communities and upholds the “Good Food Principles” of environmental sustainability, valued workforce, health and nutrition, and animal welfare.

“Our participation with the Puget Sound Food Hub allows Shoreline schools to bring seasonal, sustainably sourced food of high quality directly to the plates of our K-12 students,” says Jessica Jandayan, Director of Food Services and Nutrition. “With these offerings, we hope to enhance student nutrition, introduce students to unfamiliar foods that they may enjoy, and increase awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture in our school community.”

Student voice was central in the department’s decision to apply for the Farm to School Purchasing Grant. Most notably, 200 students at Meridian Park Elementary School signed a petition to add more vegan entrees to their menu, and a student coalition from Kellogg Middle School expressed interest in adding more meatless days to help reduce the environmental impact of school meals. Planned student focus groups will help develop new recipes made with local ingredients and help the Food and Nutrition Services Department be responsive to the evolving needs of students from cultural backgrounds that restrict meat and those with plant-based diets.

“What a wonderful opportunity this Farm to Schools grant offers us to connect our students to the farmers and producers of the food that we all enjoy. Having grown up in the eastern part of the state to parents who were migrant farm workers, this program has a special place in my heart,” shares Superintendent Susana Reyes. “Kudos to our Food and Nutrition Services staff for qualifying for this grant and for working diligently to make health, wellness, and nutrition education a part of daily life in Shoreline Schools.”

School meals this year have already included local nectarines and sungold tomatoes, and plans are in place to feature pears and honey crisp apples at all K-12 schools’ salad bars this fall. The district’s first “Farm to School Feast Day” is planned for November 8 at all K-12 schools. Lunch that day will feature baked salmon with homemade tartar sauce, a Cheddar Bay biscuit made with local grains, and a locally made yogurt with blueberries.

Throughout the current school year, students can expect to enjoy weekly fresh fruits and vegetables and quarterly Feast Days, courtesy of the Farm to School Purchasing Grant and the Shoreline Schools Food and Nutrition Services team.

Photos from a recent tour of Puget Sound Food Hub farms and producers, taken by members of the Shoreline Schools Food and Nutrition Services department.

food producer tour image