During a pilot launch in early August, ACRE experts led a training session with the Marietta district’s nutrition staff that included knife skills, food safety for raw meat and how to incorporate new items into the menus. Getting a wider variety of foods on cafeteria trays appealed to Rowe.
“Increasing the variety of foods will also increase access, so items will be available to students who may never have tried them,” said Rowe.
Along with the standard tomatoes, broccoli and cucumbers, lunch may now feature mushrooms, onions and bell peppers on the salad bar and more fruits such as blueberries and peaches. At the same time, more ethnic dishes will give students some of the foods they often have at home.
“We are a minority/majority system, and adding more authentic food to the menu is like bringing a piece of home into the school,” said Rowe. “We’re trying hard to increase the ethnicity and culture of the food for our students because that helps them feel more comfortable.”
Along with cafeteria staples of pizza and hamburgers, students may soon find pupusas, plantains, tostones, chicken chimichurri, beef picadillo and Brazilian cheese balls. And there will be kale, in salads and the Caesar wrap.
“It’s all about learning,” said Rowe. “Being the first to try something isn’t scary for us.”
Information about Marietta City Schools is online at marietta-city.org. Details about ACRE can be found at thecommonmarket.org/blog/the-georgia-acre-collective.
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