Students in the Brownsville Area School District started each day of National School Breakfast Week by eating local.
The district’s three cafeterias served up traditional breakfast staples using farm-to-table ingredients to celebrate the annual national campaign March 4-8.
Brownsville food service director Amy Keeler said the district incorporated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Program into the week’s festivities by partnering with the Republic Food Enterprise Center to provide students with fresh, regionally sourced food.
“Good nutrition is an important component of educating our students. Children who are hungry can’t focus on learning, and the role of the school cafeteria is to provide essential nutrition so our students are ready to learn,” said Keeler.
“The cafeteria compliments the classroom. We’re all here with the same goal: setting up our kids for successful futures.”
The district joined the center’s Republic Farm to School Program, which helps school districts provide fresh, local menu choices by connecting them with local farms and food producers.
The Republic Food Enterprise Center, a Redstone Township nonprofit operated through the Fayette County Community Action Agency, is also partnered with the Albert Gallatin, Blairsville-Saltsburg, California Area and Laurel Highlands school districts.
The partnership allowed Brownsville to source foods such as potatoes from an Amish farm in Somerset County to serve up hash browns. Sausage links made from pork harvested from a Fayette County farm located within the school district and processed at the Republic center were delivered to the district’s kitchens, where cafeteria staff prepared them for students.
Keeler reported positive feedback from teachers, students and administration.
“We hope to continue our partnership with the Republic Food Enterprise Center and utilize local food when possible. Feeding students the best possible product and supporting our farmers is a winning recipe for success,” Keeler said.
National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the federal School Breakfast Program and to promote eating a nutritious breakfast to start the school day. The School Breakfast Program serves 14 million children daily in 90,000 schools nationwide.