(light guitar music) – The attention to high food quality and different methods
that are more healthy have really taken hold in school districts and for the most part those are the items that now food service
directors are buying. We made the decision, probably
six or seven years ago to get into farm-to-school
here in Park Hill. I really wanted to bring
some fresh local produce and different products into our schools. – We don’t really have a clear sense in our culture anymore of
where our food comes from when we eat it. Children don’t see plants in production unless it’s a part of their life at home or part of their life at school. – Right now, I was very excited when we got the fresh Brussels sprouts. And a lot of the children
didn’t really know what they were. We just served them this week. And I didn’t have any leftover, so that’s a good sign. – I think it’s nice that they are trying to give us all the nutrients
we need on one plate. When you have all the fresh
fruits and vegetables, they give you all the nutrients you need to have lots of energy. But if we learn that vegetables and fruits are healthy for us to
take in at a young age, then we’re more likely when we’re older to have more nutrition inside us, since we’re eating more vegetables. That can help us concentrate
more when we’re at work or doing something of other
value when we’re older. – In an educational atmosphere,
we want to make sure that our kids connect to the
food that they’re eating. The more that we continue
to put these things in front of our kids, these
fresh fruits and vegetables, hopefully we’ll start making
a dent in some of that childhood obesity and really focus towards creating those healthy habits that they can take throughout
the rest of their lives. – Farm-to-school is great,
but it does have some hurdles that you have to jump over. The first one is just finding the sources and finding the farmers,
then you have to get it to the school. – [Josh] They would only
be able to justify coming to Kansas City Kansas one day a week. We have, at our facilities, where we serve 32,000 meals a day, we need
more than one delivery a week. – [Emily] One of the greatest
challenges for schools is the amount of time and
equipment that they have to prepare healthy foods for kids. When we’re taking care of the dicing of the butternut squash,
it saves a lot of time to prepare other healthy
foods for schools. – It is a balancing act for us, because local does cost more and there are times where
you just have to walk away and say, that looks
lovely, but unfortunately, I just can’t afford that. – The challenge there, to
provide access to local farmers has been in working with
them, having conversations with them to learn about
the seasonality of produce. – Our farmers are getting more inventive, they have wind tunnels, we’ve
had some hydroponic farmers that we’ve worked with that can then extend the growing season by growing into the fall,
winter, and in some cases, all winter long. – The Kansas season extension
guideline that came out, so it helps farmers work
through some of the things that they’ll need to do to get installation of their high
tunnel or season extension stuff. – The strength of these school partners is that they are surrounded by, also, some community infrastructure that can help them act as mentors. They are serving as leaders, as examples for other school districts
and have stories to share and lessons learned that can be models for other school districts
facing those same challenges or similar challenges. – Increasing the
opportunities for local food to be in different
institutions doesn’t have to be more expensive, sometimes. Sometimes you just need to
know the steps to do it. – [Josh] We need to
make sure that the food that we’re providing our kids
is good quality, it’s healthy, it gives them the nutrition
that they need to succeed. – [Ronda] The kids may
not understand always why it tastes different but
they do taste the difference. – [Josh] My advice
would be to start small, maybe with a tasting, and really connect with your local community and your farmers and your advocacy groups to start connecting the dots for it. – [Ronda] Because we
have a big opportunity to make a positive impact. – You can always find ways to
incorporate farm-to-school. If you’re open for
partnerships and working with the community partners
and resources in the area. (light upbeat music) (upbeat guitar music) – [Narrator] The Healthcare Foundation of greater Kansas City is
proud to support coverage of healthy lifestyles
for children on KCPT.