Flint schools snack on fresh fruit from Montrose Orchards

By Dominic Adams | MLive.com
October 10, 2013

-648b6d14e45b6f53FLINT, MI – More than 5,000 Flint School District students are eating fresh fruit from a Genesee County orchard as part of an initiative that brings local produce to the lunchroom.

The apples and pears are from the Montrose Orchards and were purchased using a federal funded grant.

“We’re trying to expose some different fresh fruits and vegetables to the children,” said Marie Weaver, interim food service director. “I’m thrilled that the children are learning about fresh fruits and vegetables that they don’t always get a chance to try.”

Some of the fruit was handed out at Carpenter Road Elementary on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Sixth-grader Makayla Inman took a break from math instruction to eat an apple from Montrose Orchards.

“I would rather have a healthy snack that tastes good,” she said, adding that sometimes her school snacks are fresh fruits and vegetables and other times they are pre-packaged snacks.

Weaver said she’s seeking bids for fresh fruits and vegetables each month and hopes that more local produce farmers can supply snacks for the district.

Dennis Lackey is the FoodCorps service member at the Crim Fitness Foundation. He does work around the city on food and nutritional education and hands-on gardening. Lackey said he approached the Flint School District with the idea of using local produce.

“For the first time, they went outside whatever the generic supplier is and went to a local farm,” Lackey said. “This is just hopefully the start of their local sourcing.”

Dan Hill is the owner of the Montrose Township orchard that supplied the fruit. He said he’s been trying to get his products into local schools for years.

But Hill admitted it would be hard for schools to get produce from 100 different growers in order to satisfy the volume a district the size of Flint’s would need.

“It’s nice to see an opportunity to actually bid,” Hill said. “They’ve seen a vast increase in their usage because the kids really enjoy it.”

It took Raven Fauth only a short time to devour his pear.

“I’m sad because this is all gone,” he said.

The district celebrated National School Lunch Week this week, which promotes healthy school lunches.

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Photo Credit Zack Wittman | MLive.com