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Dedham Public Schools Learn about Sourcing Local and Seasonal Foods

At Dedham Public Schools, value is placed upon bringing nutrition education to students of all ages. According to Dedham Public Schools’ Wellness Policy, Dedham Public Schools are committed to providing school environments that promote and protect lifelong health, well-being, and the ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. To accomplish this, dietetic interns from the Framingham State University’s (FSU) Coordinated Program incorporate Dedham’s Wellness Policy into each lesson they teach at the schools.

One of the many goals of the spring 2017 FSU interns, during their time at Dedham, was to bring awareness regarding the benefits of local and seasonal foods. Students in a wellness class offered at Dedham High School watched educational videos by Michael Pollan that discussed the story of our food from seed to table in order to identify the benefits of eating locally and seasonally.

Using information and skills gathered from the video and lesson discussion, the students were then able to determine the best food procurement location based on the least carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and travel time from different locations around the nation to Dedham, Massachusetts. After the activity, students were shocked by the difference in CO2 emissions when comparing foods’ travel mileage from different states and local cities.

Students also created a colorful take-home guide showing the annual availability of local fruits and vegetables. This guide can help students and their families make year-round local produce choices.

For educational materials about nutrition-related health topics, gardening, farm-to- school, and more, visit the John C. Stalker Institute’s (JSI) Resource Center for Lessons for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.

Submitted by: Kelly Thompson, Graduate student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics