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TMCNet:  Chartwells School Dining Services Introduces a School Garden Guide

[November 12, 2012]

Chartwells School Dining Services Introduces a School Garden Guide

RYE BROOK, N.Y. --(Business Wire)--

According to the Journal of American Dietetics, sixth-grade students involved in a garden-based nutrition education program increased their fruit and vegetable consumption by 2.5 servings per day, more than doubling their overall consumption. In addition, a class of fifth-graders who participated in garden-based lessons scored 15 points higher on science tests than students who learned in a traditional classroom.

Chartwells School Dining Services believes that school gardens provide an excellent opportunity to educate students about agriculture, food origin, nutrition, and core academic subjects, in addition to promoting life-long healthy eating habits. Because of this belief and the growing popularity and prevalence of school gardens nationwide, Chartwells is introducing a newly developed Garden Guide. The Guide is a comprehensive resource for Chartwells operators, school educators and community members who are interested in developing and maintaining school gardens.

"School gardens are an exciting way for Chartwells to introduce new, healthy foods into student's diets. The gardens also provide an opportunity for physical activity throughout the day by bringing the classroom outdoors for hands-on learning," said Keith Cullinan, President, Chartwells School Dining Services. "We are proud to provide a Garden Guide that will help food service operators and other school stakeholders make informed decisions when implementing school garden programs."

Developed by Chartwells' Nutrition & Sustainability team, the guide provides step-by-step support for implementing a school garden and is divided into the following four sections:

  • Starting a Garden
    Ths section leads food service operators through all the steps of starting a garden project, including obtaining approval from school officials, creating a budget and developing a garden design.
  • Safety and Sanitation in Gardens
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    This section includes specific instructions on creating a Food Safety Plan for a school garden, including growing conditions and production tips, worker health and sanitation guidelines, containers and equipment care, transport and delivery and produce washing instructions.
  • Harvesting and Serving Garden Produce in Schools
    In collaboration with food safety experts, this section includes a set of procedures and steps that must be carried out prior to serving any food from the school garden in the cafeteria with a specific concentration on food harvest, recovery and produce storage.
  • Chartwells Protocol for Garden Produce in School Meals
    This section outlines the paperwork requirements, approvals and certifications that must be met and obtained before embarking upon a school garden project.

To date, numerous Chartwells schools have developed and are currently maintaining a school garden and the company expects to see a growing number of inquiries as the school gardening trend continues.

"We have had a school garden for a few years now and it is exciting to see how more and more students want to be involved in gardening," said Marcia Servatius, Chartwells Director of Dining Services at Ottawa School District in Kansas, "Not just here at school, but growing their own gardens at home and in the community."

Bringing the School Garden Concept Indoors

A Chartwells school based in Tiverton, Rhode Island, is taking the school garden concept one step further with an "Edible Schoolyard Project" that educated children on the benefits of vegetables and the USDA's new MyPlate icon. The edible schoolyard lessons were conducted for five second grade classes at two elementary schools in the local area and were presented by Chartwells nutritionist, Nancy Roberts and Chartwells executive chef, Jeff Simbro.

During the sessions, Roberts presented the students with various vegetables and plants and explained their nutritional values and benefits. During the lesson, Simbro made a salad featuring each plant and vegetable that the students were able to taste test afterwards. The students were also sent home with recipes and a Chartwells MyPlate mini poster to share with their families.

For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit www.eatlearnlive.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Chartwells School Dining Services

Chartwells, a division of Charlotte, NC-based Compass (News - Alert) Group, provides dining services for over 550 public school districts and private schools, comprising over 6000 separate elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit www.eatlearnlive.com.


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