Students Serve Lunch at the REAL School, Falmouth, Maine

Educator: Christine Caputo

School: REAL School – RSU 14, Falmouth, ME

Subjects: Farm to School, Garden Program, Food Service

Grade: 9-12

Number of students: 50

Website: www.realschool.org

How are you teaching about food, health, and sustainability?
Our students are in charge of the school lunch for two of the schools on the island. Everyday they are preparing and serving their classmates. Those who are not cooking are helping to grow and harvest fresh greens and other produce from the garden. We are also partnering with local farms to do a work share to supplement what we cannot grow. This is a student-led initiative to improve the quality of food that is being served in our school’s cafeteria.

How are you using the Nourish resources?
Nourish is perfect because it addresses the issues that students are interested in. The Nourish School Lunch Survey is exactly what we did at our school last year. This was what pushed students to work in the kitchen and take a more central role in the preparation of their meals.

What activities, projects, or inquiry questions have students engaged in?
“Food and Ecosystems” (Activity 4) and “Analyzing Food Ads” (Activity 5) are great for my high school students. They like to understand when mass media is influencing their lives in a negative way. They have even made their own commercials for our own fictional product, “High Scorer Cereal.”

What effect has Nourish had on your students’ understanding of food system issues?
Nourish has greatly affected the way that the students look at food and their community’s access to good food. It has increased their interest in changing the foods that are being served at the school.

What conversations have resulted from using Nourish? What are some next steps?
The first was a roundtable discussion about school lunch in general. The next was how we can change it. Now we are in the process of changing the foods that are served and will continue to take the necessary steps to educate not only our students but also their families.

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