Dedham Public Schools Learns About The Power of Local Food


Dedham Public Schools believe that good nutrition and learning go hand in hand. The district strives to uphold its belief along with the values in its wellness policy by incorporating nutrition education in the classroom with the help of  Dietetic Interns from Framingham State University.  

On April 10th, 2017, Mariya Stephenson, together with fellow interns Kelly Thomson and Mike Niejaldik, presented a lesson titled “Zip Code Unknown – The Power of the Local” to a group of twenty high school students. The lesson focused on the benefits of eating seasonal and local, and the impact on human health, environment and sustainability.

Handout from the lesson titled “Zip Code Unknown – The Power of the Local”

During the lesson, students enjoyed a few short films by fervent food advocates, including the renown journalist Michael Pollan, followed by discussions on how far does food travel, what constitutes local and seasonal food, why is it beneficial, and where could it be purchased. They also took part in calculating the amount of gas used and CO2 emitted based on the travel distance of a given produce, as well as in creating a Massachusetts Seasonal Fruit and Veggie calendar, while conferring  with the Seasonal Food Guide by the Grace Communication Foundation. By the end of the presentation all students were all able to describe at least two benefits of eating locally, and named at least three fruit and vegetables grown in Massachusetts during the summer. More importantly, they felt empowered to make more educated choices when it comes to local and seasonal products.

For more information on wellness policies and  how to incorporate nutrition education into your school visit the Lessons for Grades K-12 and School Wellness Initiatives and Policies pages in the John C. Stalker Institute (JSI) Resource Center, and the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts. JSI offers many different professional development options for school nutrition professionals.

Submitted by: Mariya Stephenson, FSU Food and Nutrition Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics