TOWNSHEND, Vt. – If you visit the Leland & Gray Union Middle High School cafeteria this fall, you might notice a new back to school style.
This summer when the students went on break their Seed2Tray team went to work. Food Service Director Chris Parker wanted to create a fun space for the school community to enjoy their meals for the 2019-2020 school year. First, they gave their kitchens a deep cleaning and lots of coats of paint. Then turned their focus to the Leland & Gray cafeteria.
“The cafeteria had spent years looking grey and dull, so we recruited the art teacher, Suzanne Paugh from Newbrook Elementary,” says Chris. “She had been the leader on our makeover at Newbrook last year, and I knew I needed her for this project.” Suzanne worked with the incoming fifth and sixth graders to achieve an industrial, graffiti art feel –and the kids were very excited to be a part of such a large project that would impact their school. They created the signs for each station, then painted them before Chef Chris took them back to his woodshop for the finishing touches.
The Seed2Tray team worked hard throughout the school year to get to this point. They applied for a mini grant through Food Connects for a new salad bar, generously donated by Entera Catering. The receipt of the salad bar allows the team to provide a wider variety of options for students to make delicious salads. Chris also worked hard to ensure that Universal Meals were added to the budget for the 2019-2020 school year for the entire school district.
“We are excited to see our students and show them their new cafeteria. They are now welcomed by a new hot line, a new salad bar, a pizza bar, and a sandwich bar complete with panini press. The best part is that every student in Jamaica Village, Townshend, Leland & Gray, and Newbrook will all eat for free.”
Thanks to the entire Seed2Tray team for their hard work to make schools meals welcoming and delicious. Be sure to follow them on Instagram at Seed2Tray.
Food Connects is an entrepreneurial nonprofit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 60 local farms and food producers to over 120 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus Farm to School programming.
Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region.