Submitted by Lopez Island School
Students in the Lopez Island School District will be greeted and served an opportunity this month. During the month of September, everything served in the kitchen will be sourced within 50 miles of the school. In addition, starting this year, the school will feature “Lopez Lunches” which will consist of ingredients direct from our gardens and the island.
The conversation started last spring when one meal was noticeably “all Lopez.”
“We went through the menu and realized that were several days where that was the case and decided to aim to make a month like it,” said Shannon O’Donnell, the school’s head cook.
“It was remarkable to watch the pieces come together,” said Principal Dave Sather. “Ronni Tartlet and Levi Rodriguez donated apple vinegar; there was flour that we milled, beans that were grown on Horsedrawn Farm; and not to mention the countless volunteers who assisted Suzanne Berry and Valerie Yukluk in a successful harvest.”
“This is a partnership involving that not only our local farmers but reflects the values of our small, rural and agricultural-friendly community,” noted Superintendent Brian Auckland.
Parent Keri Sausman went further, “I feel very grateful that my children have the option to eat healthy, local food for their school lunch. Lopez school understands the importance of educating well involves nourishment and a connection to our community.”
Alaya Battalia, with the Family Resource Center, added, “Lopez School lunches guarantee that every student has access to at least one balanced and nutritious meal a day, loaded with vegetables and a bit of curiosity.”
While other schools are starting their own “Farm to School” programs, they are playing catch up to what Lopez has created and continues to succeed at every day. Several other school districts like Bellingham have visited with a team to see about duplicating the program, and Lopez is often mentioned as a leader in Farm to School education with its Lopez Island Farm Education (LIFE) program.
In addition to the meals, the school offers three classes that are tied to the Lopez Island Farm Education program: culinary, sustainable agriculture and garden enrichment for grades K-5. All are welcome to join us on “Lopez Lunches” where 100 percent of the meals are from the island. Information will be shared on Lopez Rocks, the school website, in addition to the weekly newsletters as to dates. We invite parents and community members to join us on those dates this month or for the rest of the year by RSVPing at so’firstname.lastname@example.org.