Students in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District are likely to eat healthier as local farmers get an economic boost, thanks to a $248,000 “farm to school” grant to Saint Louis University.
The Missouri Foundation for Health is supporting the HELP – or Healthy Eating with Local Produce – program with an “innovative funding” grant, which underwrites initiatives that tackle an old problem in a new way.
Saint Louis University’s multi-faceted grant is designed to improve school lunches and teach business skills in the Maplewood Richmond Heights district, which has half of its students receiving free or reduced priced lunches. That food will be sliced, diced and cooked in a converted industrial kitchen at the Salus Center, which is on the SLU Medical Center campus. The food then will be delivered to Maplewood Richmond Heights, where it will be served as part of lunches at its early childhood center, elementary, middle and high schools. The facility also will house a culinary education program, teaching district foodservice workers and middle school students how to prepare healthier foods that are high in protein or are locally grown.
Students will launch their own business, selling a product they create using local produce. Dietetics interns will assist Maplewood Richmond Heights school children in planting school gardens. They also will weave in nutrition and exercise programs into health, science and physical education lessons.
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