A plastic dishpan of potting soil, a cup of seeds and some small plastic baggies made their way around a conference room at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District. These simple materials evolved into tiny greenhouses and a mini-science lesson for teachers to engage their students on local food and agriculture. The Michigan Land Use Institute, TBAISD and FoodCorps teamed up to plant this seed-literally and figuratively-that local food and agriculture can be an integral part of the classroom.
A recent overhaul of the federal nutrition rules for schools is meant to provide healthier options for children. But the new requirements-including larger servings of fruits and vegetables that local farmers could grow, less sodium and fat, and more whole grains-have sparked a heated debate nationally and right here in Traverse City.