Bringing Healthy Food to Monument One Step at a Time
Students start initiative to provide healthy alternatives throughout the school day
December 7, 2016
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The Farm to School Stand was brought to Monument three years ago by sixteen motivated students who wished to provide our school with healthy alternative to sugary vending machine snacks.
The site is set up in a storage room converted from the old school store next to the cafeteria and Nurse Graham’s office. The stand’s convenient location allows for students to purchase affordable snacks throughout the day. The options range from LUNA Bars to fresh Bartlett’s Orchard apples to pesto pasta all brought in from local health food stores like Guido’s, Berkshire Co-Op Market, Bartlett’s Orchard and the Marketplace Cafe.
Farm to School Stand participants, Meryl and Grace Phair, had high praise for the food provided. “The pesto pasta from the Marketplace,” Meryl claimed was her favorite, while Grace stated, “Either the dried mangoes, chocolate cupcake LUNA bars or the Lo Mein from the Marketplace Cafe because it is so delicious.” And not only is the food enjoyable, but the prices are reasonable, ranging from $0.50 to $2.75.
Every week the stand is stocked with new snacks purchased with the profits from the previous week. The variety changes with the season and is based on the popularity among the students. However, the store is there to cater to the students’ needs so any and all food suggestions are always welcome.
The student-run cooperative is organized by Ruby Jones, Meryl Phair, Grace Phair, Ben Bergman, Eliza Abrams and Zoë Renner and staffed by anyone willing to donate their time during a free period. The store previously was only open during select periods, but due to the positive response and feedback from the student body, it is now open for the entirety of the school day.
This initiative is not only about healthy food but about building a community. Meryl, a long time contributor to the Stand said, “It is a place that makes everyone happier and healthier while creating a safe place.” This safe place has helped form many bonds between those who might not normally see each other throughout the school day. Each person may have a variety of reasons to join the club but there was a common theme when speaking to volunteers. “It’s the people. The Farm to School Stand brings a lot of people together and I think it makes people happier because they have yummy treats to eat during the day and a fun place to chill out for a break from the school day,” Grace explained.
An added bonus is in the spring and fall months when the Farm to School Stand partners with Project Sprout to provide vegetables and fruits grown by students on our own school property. This is just another way that Monument has been able to connect students with the environment and direct them on a path to making healthy choices in the future.