Feast Down East Brings Local Berries to School Cafeterias

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Feast Down East, co-founded by UNCW sociology professor Leslie Hossfeld, and FoodCorps have partnered with the Child Nutrition Programs to bring fresh local strawberries and blueberries to Brunswick and New Hanover County school cafeterias.

Bringing local ingredients into the lunchroom is beneficial for the health of students and allows small low-resource farmers make their way into local markets.

"Connecting small family farms to our children through the food they eat in their cafeteria each day helps connect the dots in the local food system," said Hossfeld, who also serves as executive director of Feast Down East. "Instead of food traveling thousands of miles to get to our public schools, it travels within 50 miles, keeping local food dollars in the region and ensuring healthy, affordable food for our children."

The school cafeteria plays a large role in decreasing childhood obesity and is part of a 3-pillar approach of the FoodCorps model, which also includes educating students about nutrition, giving access to local vegetables and fruits and constructing school gardens.

"Students will now be able to learn about their local farmers, where food comes from and how and where it is grown. That's what helps make a fully integrated local food system work," said Hossfeld.

Feast Down East is a non-profit organization which aims to encourage people to buy locally grown food by supporting and marketing local farms. Its main objective is to help the small, limited-resource farmers to bring healthier, local food options to local restaurants, grocery stores, schools, hospitals and anywhere they can. This organization supports locally produced food and aims to limit the distance between the food and the consumer.