Ukiah Unified School District has demonstrated its commitment to teaching healthy eating habits and the importance of physical activity in a few different ways. Through the district's Growing Healthy Kids From the Ground Up program, all schools in Ukiah Unified School District have organic gardens on campus and a garden/nutritional coordinator who oversees them. Salad bars have been installed in all of the district's schools, the salad bar option is offered during lunch every day. The district is currently planning how to stock the salad bars with produce fresh from the school garden. This program has caught the attention of Emeril Lagasse, a prominent television chef, his personal foundation has donated more than $27,000 to the program. TThe District also has a Harvest of the Month program, now in its second year, where 70 classrooms receive a box of in-season produce monthly. This is an exciting way for educators to introduce fruits and vegetables to students in the classroom. To expand the program, this year the district schools are partnering with school food services to serve the harvest of the month produce in the cafeteria to students at the same time it is introduced into the classrooms.
Education is also a large component to Ukiah's programs. Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op is partnering with the school district this year to pilot a local organic nutrition education class, and are also discussing with school officials how to remove genetically-modified foods from the school food chain. One component will be classroom visits by farmers who will bring their produce and discuss food production with the students. Some students are now also becoming farmers. The local high school is growing produce for our cafeteria. The food service director gives them a list of what he needs, they grow and sell it to him to use in the lunches.
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