A Field Trip to Bellingham Middle School

Last week. school nutrition directors and managers from MetroWest schools visited Bellingham Middle School to learn about their school nutrition program and network with other school nutrition professionals.

Participants saw Bellingham’s hydroponic towers, which were grant funded by Stop and Shop. Each day the tower gardens are given 18 hours of light from grow lights, and maintenance involves checking the pH and water. In the summer, the towers are placed outside. Produce from the hydroponic towers have been used for Bellingham Middle School’s extras bar.

Dawn Berthelette, Healthy Eating Specialist from Whole Foods Market at Bellingham, also spoke about the potential for public schools to partner with Whole Foods. At Bellingham Middle School, cooking classes and nutrition education are provided to students through a Whole Foods partnership.

Hydroponic tower gardens growing romaine lettuce (left), cucumbers (upper right tower), grape tomatoes (middle right tower), and green peppers (lower right tower).
Hydroponic Tower with growing lettuce and accompanying trellis to vertically grow cucumbers.

Other aspects of Bellingham’s School Nutrition program, run by Jeanne Sheridan, include:

  • Chef Shelly Bernardini, a Johnson and Wales trained chef, runs the Middle and Elementary School programs
  • Recognized as a Healthier U.S. School by the USDA
  • A grant funded garden is in every Bellingham school
  • Serves breakfast to students with three methods: traditional, in the classroom, and a grab and go cart in the middle school
  • Daily menu and nutritional information is available for all schools through the Nutrislice app

Bellingham schools provide one model for how to successfully incorporate healthy options in a school nutrition program. This visit also provided an opportunity for school nutrition professionals to meet and learn from each other.

This event was made possible through funding from the MetroWest Health Foundation. If you are with a school in the MetroWest region and are interested in hosting a free JSI Workshop to Go before the end of this school year, click here for more information.  For more resources for your school nutrition program, visit JSI’s Professional Development page and Resource Center.

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The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Framingham State University.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.

© The John C. Stalker Institute, 2024
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The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Framingham State University.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.

© The John C. Stalker Institute, 2024