How Colorado’s rural and urban food communities are coming together | VailDaily.com
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How Colorado’s rural and urban food communities are coming together

Tamara Chuang, Colorado Sun
Students from the Denver Green School help with the harvest of the adjacent Sprout City Farms garden. A portion of the food is used by the school cafeteria, while the rest is shared or sold within the community. (Handout, Meg Caley, Sprout City Farms)

Every day, Greeley-Evans District 6 school cafeterias serve fruits and vegetables that look like real fruits and vegetables, because they are. Most of the meals are made from scratch. And the district, which serves about 14,000 meals a day, is working with about a dozen local farmers to add more fresh produce to the school lunch menu.

The farm-to-school program isn’t the cheapest option and it’s definitely not the most convenient, the district’s executive chef Matt Poling admits. Buying from farms means extra work to clean and cut produce to fit on school lunch trays while processed and prepackaged food can save time and money. 

But there’s more to a school lunch than buying for the lowest price, he said. He wants to make sure Weld County students get at least one high-quality, nutrition-rich meal a day. Plus there’s the education factor: He wants kids to know where their food comes from. 

“We don’t want the answer to the question ‘Do you know where does this apple come from?’ to be ‘The grocery store.’ We want the answer to be a farm or an orchard,” Poling said. “We do what we can because obviously 100% of our food budget is not going to be local. It’s just not feasible. But you’ve got to start somewhere.”

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