As the year comes to a close, let's take a look back at some of our top moments from 2017!
1. Chicopee elementary school students gained hands-on experience in the kitchen through after school cooking classes. At Lambert Lavoie, students made pizza, tacos, smoothies, spring rolls, and cupcakes :)
2. Dupont Middle School received a Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant to purchase new gym equipment and serve healthy smoothies in the cafeteria. They also received a mini grant to hold a smoothie competition, which really brought out student creativity!
3. ChicopeeFRESH began partnering with the Chicopee Public Library to offer food-themed workshops for kids. The library also received an LSTA "Combining Good Ingredients" Grant to host a variety of food themed events for all ages throughout the year.
4. ChicopeeFRESH celebrated Whole Grain Sampling Day by passing out popcorn samples at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. Students got to top their popcorn with homemade seasonings such as ranch and cinnamon sugar.
5. FoodCorps Service Members built a total of 30 new raised garden beds and started two new school gardens at Litwin Elementary and Dupont Middle School.
6. Chicopee food service staff participated in a variety of unique professional development and group bonding opportunities, including a chocolate workshop with Pastry Chef Simon Stevenson from UMass Amherst.
7. Thanks to Chicopee's Schools that Bake initiative, K-5 students now enjoy weekly fresh baked muffins and bars as part of their school breakfast.
8. The ChicopeeFRESH team visited 88 Acres, a family-owned business out of Boston making handcrafted seed bars and seed butters. We've since started serving 88 Acres seed bars for breakfast! They're a delicious and nutritious snack, perfect for taking on the go, and ideal for students with nut allergies.
9. Chicopee piloted Backyard Grower's Salad and Harvest Days program, which gives students two complete seed to fork experiences each year through three organized visits to the garden, where they get to plant, harvest, and then taste vegetables in the cafeteria. The pilot was a great success, and hundreds of students at Stefanik, Bowe, and Streiber schools got to participate.
10. Second grade students at Bowe Elementary took a field trip to La Finca, a farm operated by non-profit Nuestras Raices in Holyoke, MA. Students rotated through stations, where they got to help in the garden, visit with the animals, taste test new foods, and take a tour of the farm.
11. FoodCorps Service Members held monthly taste tests, and even got students to give a thumbs up to locally sourced fish!
12. Bellamy kitchen staff created a smoothie and yogurt parfait bar, which was a huge hit with students! They loved personalizing their own parfaits, complete with local yogurt, and toppings such as fresh and frozen fruit, granola, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.
13. FoodCorps Service Members worked with the Cabot Manor summer program to host garden and food themed activities for kids, such as scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and cooking. Participants got to build their own solar pizza ovens, make butter, and practice plant part yoga among other things.
14. FoodCorps Service Members hung out with the amazing Chicopee Public Library Bookmobile staff and passed out fresh produce and recipes at local parks.
15. 2-year FoodCorps Service Member, Greta Shwachman, got hired on as a full time Farm to School Program Coordinator for the district! We also got two new awesome FoodCorps Service Members, Molly Burke and Kelly Zimmerhanzel.
16. ChicopeeFRESH and Dupont Middle School raised $2000 as part of fundraising efforts to build a new greenhouse at Dupont this spring. Mark your calendar for our next fundraiser at Chipotle on January 27th from 5-9pm.
17. Chicopee Food Service Director, Joanne Lennon, was named a Kale Blazer by MA Farm to School for her innovative and outstanding work in farm to school. She received this honor at the State House on Farm to School Awareness Day, October 26th.
Thanks for reading our top 17 highlights from 2017! This was an awesome year for all things farm to school, and we can't wait to see what 2018 holds for ChicopeeFRESH!
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.