Stefanie Dove, RDN
Guest Blog: School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator
Loudoun County School Nutrition Services proudly serves nutritious meals to the 82,000 students attending Loudoun County Public Schools.
We offer students breakfast, lunch, and supper at select sites daily. Even when school is out for the summer, we still provide meals across the county to any child under the age of 18 at no cost.
When you think of school lunches, chances are good that locally grown produce, antibiotic-free chicken, and vegetarian menus are not what crosses your mind.
School meals have changed over the past decade and with more than 6.7 million meals served to the students of Loudoun County last school year, it is safe to say that we are the largest restaurant in the community.
We are continuously testing new recipes, surveying our students and adapting the latest food trends to our menus.
One of the things we are most proud of is our farm-to-school program. Over the past 2.5 years, we have collaborated with our teachers, administrators and community partners such as Loudoun County Health Department and Loudoun Economic Development to implement initiatives to support this program.
We have distributed 90 hydroponic garden towers to classrooms across the county and as a result, we have increased the number of school gardens by 226 percent! From classroom gardens to thriving outdoor gardens, we have a variety of programs across all grade levels in Loudoun.
The most successful farm-to-school promotion that we have done has been our Loudoun Farmer Trading Cards.
This week, we are kicking off our third edition of these cards that were made possible by the Loudoun Economic Development team.
Each year, we celebrate Opening Day of baseball as well as school garden season by distributing 92,000 trading cards in all of our elementary schools. Students can collect their cards when they purchase lunch during the month. We invite the farmers to come out to schools during lunch so that they can talk to students about their farms and sign their trading cards.
The farmers are treated like local celebrities. This promotion is my favorite promotion of the year because activities such as this truly help to educate our students about the local agriculture community in Loudoun.
They not only learn about the different types of farming we have in Loudoun, but it also encourages them to get out to the farms and the local farmer’s markets to enjoy their products.
To find out more on our program, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube at @LCPSCafe or visit our website at www.lcpshealthycafe.org
Good Morning Loudoun! I am Stefanie Dove, Registered Dietitian and Marketing Coordinator for @lcpscafe and I am excited to takeover @loudounbiz instagram this week! We serve over 7 million meals to the students of Loudoun each year and have increased our school garden program by 235% in two years with the help of our community partners! . . Follow along with me this week where I will take you behind the scenes of our program and show you some of the exciting promotions we have going on like our #LoudounCounty farmer trading cards!