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Local Schools Participate in Program to Build Healthy Habits

Two local schools were recently selected to participate in the Building Healthy Communities program to set students up for a healthier future. “Hopefully we are going to be building a building block for healthy habits for the rest of their lives,” said Kasey Cordes, food director and custodial manager for Alcona Schools.

Both Hillman and Alcona schools were selected for the Building Healthy Communities program, designed to impact children’s health at school through nutrition and physical activity.

“We already have students who participate in gardening; we already have a HOOP house at the elementary, and the middle high, to service both cafeterias,” said Jenny Shroeder, Alcona Elementary School science facilitator. “The students can grow the foods, the students can pick the foods, and our cafeteria staff will have more staff, and the ability to make healthier meals for our students.”

According to the building healthy communities program: in the state of Michigan, schools participating in the program saw a 40% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, a 35 minute increase in weekly physical activity, and 74% of students said it was easier to pay attention in class. “We’ve been growing spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers,” said Shroeder. “We’ve been making salsa, our cafeteria staff has been trying new recipes from scratch to service our kids and the kids are very excited about the opportunity to eat food they grow.”

The schools are excited to see their students benefit from the program. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to offer the kids,” said Kasey Cordes.