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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- (WDRB) -- It's an effort to make school lunches healthier. We hear about restaurants talking about Farm to Table, taking locally grown food and putting it on the table for customers. Now, JCPS students are learning what it means to have local farmers grow their food.
It's not your typical lunch at Jacob Elementary School. Congressman John Yarmuth along with the USDA Deputy Under Secretary are going through the lunch line picking up slices of watermelon and other healthy foods.
Dajhane Porter, a 5th grader says, "I just found out it comes from a farm, a local farm in Kentucky."
JCPS won a USDA Farm to School Grant for this school year. The grant helps schools tap into local foods buying fresh produce from local farmers. Menu choices included salad and fresh fruit for the fifth grade students.
David Garey, a Paris, Kentucky farmer, says, "It's a good way of growing fresh produce. That's what we do for a living. we raise about 15 acres of vegetables. So to be able to sell this kind of volume in one place is fantastic."
Janey Thornton, the Deputy Undersecretary for the USDA says, "If I'm let's say, serving kale for the first time, kids may turn up their nose. But if you say this was kale grown two miles down the road or five miles down the road, you can just see kids perk up and get excited about that."
Farm to School is just one of the USDA's efforts to improve school meals.
The updated School Breakfast Program provides more whole grains, lower-fat milk, and portion controlled meals for differing student ages. Next school year, fruit will be increased at breakfast. And, snacks will include healthier options while limiting less nutritious foods.
Garey says, "I was just talking to another farmer. It would be nice to see more school systems in the state where it became the norm for all school system in the state to get produce straight from farmers."
So far, the new fresher, more nutritious menu is getting kid approval. Porter says, "I'm thinking we're going to have something better everyday."
Fayette County Public Schools was also awarded the USDA grant.