Recently, I stumbled across the Burlington School Food Project and their food truck, Fork In The Road. Initially it was the drool-worthy photo of their Buzzy Body sandwich that drew me in. As it turns out, one of VTPT’s younger friends actually works at Fork In The Road and was able to fill in some details. This young man works several hours during the evening with his peers preparing food for hungry customers. The produce and foods used are largely locally sourced and this student could name the farms where the ingredients for his favorite samosas came from . While the menu is provided by the adults and the kitchen is supervised, the cooking and customer service end of the truck is all student-run. The best part is that the kids are having a blast while developing a life skill that too many of us are lacking.
The Burlington School Food Project is a Farm to School program that provides 4,000 meals daily to Burlington District schools. Their cafeterias are proud to say that 1/3 of the food served is from Vermont producers. Beyond the admirable goal of feeding students, their mission is to “connect students and their families with whole, fresh, and local foods to improve student learning and the health of our community.” This has lead to projects like the food truck, a Junior Iron Chef competition, and productive school gardens. To learn more about the Burlington School Food Project or to find where the Fork In The Road is going to be next, check out their pages on Facebook.
There is no need to harp on the weight struggles that clearly exist in all ages of the population. Energy is better spent on finding solutions, and the Burlington School Food Project is on to something. Simply not knowing how to prepare your own meals is possibly the biggest barrier to a good diet. Basic cooking skills and an understanding of where food comes from will benefit a child for the rest of their life, even if he or she doesn’t necessarily have a passion for it like the kids at Fork In The Road.
For the parents out there: include your kids in grocery shopping and meal preparation. Teach them what vegetables and meats and grains look like before they turn into what goes on their plates. This doesn’t have to mean elaborate or fancy meals; try something simple like this kid-created “Chex Chicken“. Bonus: it is gluten-free!