Sitka Conservation Society
Mar 14 2014

A Guide to Serving Local Fish in School Cafeterias

It’s here! Hot-off-the-press is the Fish to Schools Resource Guide and Stream to Plate Curriculum! Fish to Schools, a program that gets local seafood into schools, began as a grassroots, community initiative in the fall of 2010. Sitka is one of the first districts in the state to serve local seafood through the National School Lunch Program and has become a leader in the State of Alaska to get local foods into schools. In the last three years, the number of schools interested in serving local seafood has increased ten-fold. And it makes sense—this is a program that not only addresses child nutrition but also food justice, community sustainability, and conservation.

In an effort to support regional and state-wide efforts to serve local foods in schools, the Sitka Conservation Society developed a “how-to” guide to serving fish in schools. Using Sitka as a case study it outlines procurement and processing strategies, legalities, tips, and recipes. Also included are case studies from around the state that offer tips and suggestions based on the success of their programs.

Click to download the Fish to Schools Resource Guide

In addition to this guide is the “Stream to Plate” curriculum, a unit of seven lessons that connect salmon to the classroom. The lessons address the ecological significance and human relationship to salmon. These lessons have been trialed and refined the last three years with third graders at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. Chris Bryner, teacher and collaborator on the salmon unit said, “The Fish to Schools curriculum connects my classroom to the community.  Students not only learn about a resource relevant to their daily lives, but come away with an understanding that learning happens inside and outside of school.”

Click here to download the Fish to Schools Classroom Lessons

We’ve been working on this guide since the inception of our program, tucking away tips and pieces information that have been particularly useful to get Fish to Schools up and running. I hope it inspires and supports your efforts to get local foods in schools.

Thank you to all the funders who have made this possible: SEARHC Community Transformation Grant, Alaska Obesity Prevention and Control Program, Alaska Farm to School, and the Crossett Foundation. And thank you to all of the countless volunteer hours the community of Sitka has put in to make this possible!

Tracy

About Tracy

Tracy Gagnon, Community Sustainability Organizer, landed in Sitka after teaching at the University of Oregon and working for food-based non-profits in Oregon. Most of her projects focused on connecting youth and adults alike to their food source through hands-on gardening, farm field trips, and cooking. Her passion is working on food justice issues to ensure everyone has access to healthy, fresh foods. Her focus at SCS is to manage the Fish to School program and begin a 4H Club that embraces the Alaska way-of-life by coordinating activities that connect youth to their environment and local food sources.

View all posts by Tracy →

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