School lunches: The local angle

At Minneapolis Public Schools, students these days are dining on grass-fed beef, fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and school-made Italian sausages using free-range turkey meat.

This good news was reported recently by Foodservice News, a publication that covers the region’s restaurants and food service industry. The publication featured an article focusing on how students at Minneapolis schools are finding more locally sourced food in their school lunches, thanks in large part to the efforts of Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and nutrition services for the district. The district includes 71 schools with 32,263 enrolled students. Weber is a vocal advocate for local-food sourcing for schools and has quickly built a reputation for making this happen in the school district he serves.

His ideas, the article states, “are changing the way food is prepared, served and consumed.” Gone is the prepackaged food of the old days. Meals are now created from scratch. The idea, Weber tells Foodservice News, is to let kids know what they’re eating, so there’s no more infamous “mystery meat.”

Bertrand buys food items from a number of area farmers and growers, such as Ferndale Market, which raises free-range turkeys near Cannon Falls. Ferndale was featured in the March-April issue of Edible Twin Cities.

To find out more about what’s cooking at Minneapolis public schools, visit this website:

http://nutritionservices.mpls.k12.mn.us/

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