LEWISTON — During the month of March, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Youth Campaign Crew prepared large batches of kale chips, hummus and salsa for students to sample in the Lewiston High School cafeteria.

They also helped cafeteria staff prepare over 1,200 smoothies that were featured on the menu as part of National Nutrition Month.

The Youth Campaign Crew is a small group of Lewiston High School students receiving training in leadership development, action-planning and working with adults to make changes around food issues in their school and community.

The Youth Campaign Crew hopes that these taste tests, part of a larger effort to promote a healthy culture of eating at LHS, encourage students to try new, nutritious food. Other projects include creating a public service announcement to be shown in the cafeteria about choosing healthier snacks, and having members of the crew serve as student representatives on the Lewiston School District’s Wellness Committee.

“I believe that our students have benefited from tasting different but nutritional foods that are easy to make,” said Lewiston High School Principal Shawn Chabot. “I hope to increase awareness of healthy food choices for our students and incorporate some of the food offerings into our lunch program.” 

Program participant Fatuma Saney said her favorite part was that she got to learn how to make a lot of different food.

“I also got to make fresh salsa and receive feedback about it from kids my age,” she said. “Everyone loved it! I really hope that these students will use our recipe and try to make it at home.”

The taste tests are also part of a broader Farm to School initiative funded in part by a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School planning grant awarded to the Auburn School Department last year. St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and the Auburn and Lewiston school departments are collaborating on the grant project through the Androscoggin Farm to School Network.

FMI: www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org.

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