As children return to school, Healthy Roots is gearing up our farm to school work with schools in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. Over the fall months we are hosting gleaning field trips, planning community forums and taste testing in our school cafeterias. All of this work is to ensure that our students are eating the most nutritious, fresh, local food they can but we need the help of all our families.

A strong school meal program starts with participation. A restaurant can’t thrive without customers and neither can our school cafeterias. Completing a school meal application for your children is an important first step for a healthy school year. Many families are surprised to find out that they qualify and their children can receive free breakfast and lunch at school. With full bellies, children are better able to focus, less likely to experience tardiness or absenteeism, and are more likely to engage with teachers in positive, meaningful ways.

Turning in your application, regardless of eligibility, also helps every child in your school. Increased participation in the program helps your school get more grant money to improve education, supports increased meal quality and farm to school programming, and can qualify the school in serving free meals to all children during summer months and after school. Participation in school meals also helps families stretch food budgets and saves them the time and stress of preparing and packing a lunch each day.

With your help your school can sustain a strong meal program and can boost meal quality for you children. So when you see that school meal application in the back to school packet be sure to fill it out and return it to your school.