Guidestone celebrated Colorado Proud School Meal Day with the Salida School District….highlighting locally grown produce served at lunch at the Elementary and Middle Schools and offering a healthy after school snack from the Salida School Gardens! We are so grateful to Seasons Cafe for hosting our Colorado Proud Day- Farm to School fundraiser dinner and to El Regalo Ranch, Hutchinson Ranch, Little Red Hen Bakery, Vino Salida, and Elevation Beer Company for making the four-course, seasonally inspired menu so amazing! We had a great turn out, building community and conversation around local healthy food and future generations. We raised over $1,000 for Farm to School. We asked Shaina Knight of the Colorado Department of Agriculture to share some thoughts about the origin of Colorado Proud School Meal Day and celebrations throughout the state. Please read her blog post below to learn more!
Colorado Proud School Meal Day
By Shaina Knight, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Governor John Hickenlooper proclaimed September 30, 2015, as Colorado Proud School Meal Day. This statewide event encouraged schools to incorporate Colorado products into their meals, to celebrate Colorado agriculture and to educate students about healthy eating.
We have more than 100,000 students that participated in this year’s event from every corner of the state. Not only does this celebration encourage conversations with students about food and agriculture, but it also exposes them to new tastes and a wide variety of local products.
It is estimated that over 600 schools will be sourcing locally grown, raised, or procced items this year. Some examples of items served this year will be peach cobbler, an entirely locally sourced burrito bar, beef bolognaise with Colorado Proud Gnocchi, tomato and cucumber salad and a pepper slaw.
This celebration received added support this year and/or free materials offered from organizations such as the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Foundation for Agriculture, The Colorado Farm to School Task Force, The Western Dairy Association, Slow Food Denver, CSU Extension Colorado 4-H Youth Development, The Colorado Egg Producers, The Colorado Farm Bureau, LiveWell Colorado and the Colorado Beef Council.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture and our schools rely heavily on our partnerships and the resources they offer statewide. Farm to school takes effort from all involved because schools are connecting with agriculture in a variety of ways; from sourcing local ingredients, to gaining support from their administration to break ground on a school garden and of course using agriculture as a teaching tool and topic in the classroom.
The ability to offer new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) based materials to classrooms this year has been a fantastic addition and I am quite pleased to help associate such fantastic skillsets with the agriculture industry.
A noted 341 classrooms spoke about agriculture on Colorado Proud School Meal Day. Fourteen selected schools were paired with an agricultural expert, who spoke to a selected classroom of students reaching towns such as Yuma, Delta, Campo, Flagler, Castle Rock, Lafayette, Pueblo and Fort Collins. It is amazing and encouraging to witness people willing take the steps needed for the benefit of our economy and youth. This day encompasses the very nature of bringing community together with agriculture.
Business Development Specialist
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Colorado Proud, created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 1999, promotes locally grown, raised or processed products to consumers statewide. Currently, the program has more than 2,000 members which include growers, processors, restaurants, retailers and associations. For more information, visit www.coloradoproud.org or contact Shaina Knight at (303) 869-9176.