Guest post by the US Highbush Blueberry Council
Fresh or frozen highbush blueberries aren’t just a nutritious and delicious menu staple beloved by students – they’re also a bite-sized bit of bluetiful inspiration for your next farm to school event. Whether you’re thinking of hosting a promotion for National Farm to School Month or are looking for year-round inspiration, these little blue dynamos are a cafeteria favorite, perfect for your next nutrition event. Here are four easy steps to get you started:
1. Get Inspired
Wondering where to start when planning a farm to school event? Draw inspiration from these K-12 case studies featuring three districts that have hosted successful promotions by celebrating fresh and frozen highbush blueberries all year-round:
- Carrollton City School District, Georgia – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Bonanza Week” complete with a blueberry-themed food truck, nutrition education sessions and a highbush blueberry cooking class. The results: An 11% increase in lunch participation at junior high school; and 5% average increase in breakfast participation across elementary, middle and high school.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, North Carolina – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Day” to bring highbush blueberry education to the classroom, followed by student taste test of a new menu item: Highbush Blueberry Breakfast Bark. The results: 85% of students voted that the recipe was “yummy!”
- Sebree Elementary School, Kentucky – During last year’s National Farm to School Month, in partnership with NFSN and USHBC, Webster County Schools won a sweepstakes for a “Build-Your-Own Highbush Blueberry Day.” This was extended to a full week of highbush blueberry fun, including a blueberry nutrition education session, a blueberry-themed art contest and blueberry taste tests for two recipes: a Blueberry Smoothie and a Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette. The results: a 12% increase in breakfast participation that week.
2. Learn from Others
It comes as no surprise that pulling off successful promotions like the ones above are a lot of fun, and a lot of work. Luckily, you can hear from three rockstar school nutrition pros directly in National Farm to School Network’s latest recorded webinar: Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries. The expert panel shared actionable advice on bringing a farm to school promotion to life, with some tips and tricks for planning and execution to make nutrition (and blueberries!) fun for all.
3. Download the Playbook
Now feeling ready to take on an event of your own? Download the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook, your go-to digital resource to inspire your staff, excite your students, and celebrate with your community. The playbook is packed with menu inspiration, virtual farm tours, nutrition guides, kid-friendly activities and more – everything you need to bring highbush blueberries and nutrition to your students in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it’s free to view, download and print from home!
4. Have Fun
Lastly, and most importantly, have FUN! These events are a fantastic way to engage with students and make them feel involved in their nutrition choices – in a way that’s approachable, memorable and interactive. Incorporate activities and games into your promotion to add an exciting element that will bring a smile to students and staff alike. These fun memories will incite future passions for healthy eating!
Don’t miss out on all the highbush blueberry fun this National Farm to School Month! With these easy steps, you’re ready to celebrate nutrition and serve up a smile with your students. For more positively bluetiful news, kid-friendly ideas and yummy menu inspiration, visit BlueberriesInSchools.com.