Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) staff is making great strides in providing healthy food to students as well as educating them on where food comes from. Fourteen of the District’s elementary schools received a Healthy US School Challenge Award, and HUSD received the 2015 Innovation Award from the Center of Ecoliteracy. Due to the innovative strategies the District has put in place in regards to nutrition, the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) visited Winchester Elementary School October 19th.
Kevin Concannon has served in his current role since July 2009. He has been very involved in a variety of nutrition programs throughout the United States including National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Summer Food Service Programs.
On the morning of Under Secretary Concannon’s visit, he was able to view the school lunch program. Concannon and other distinguished guests were informed about the variety of food offered to students, where the ingredients came from, and how it was made. Concannon said he was happy students were given a variety of options to choose from and the interactions staff had with students. He also talked to the students about their breakfast options and was pleased with the positive responses he was receiving.
Once breakfast had been served, distinguished guests and two classrooms attended a mini-farmer's market held by Farmer Bob Knight from Old Grove Orange Farm Share. Students learned about different fruits and vegetables, the health benefits, and were able to pick three vegetables they would like to take home with them.
Under Secretary Concannon expressed his enthusiasm when teaching students about growing food. He said it is important to inform students about where their food comes from as well as the hard work that goes into growing it. He also encourages schools to have their own garden. “It’s a way of touching kids in a positive way,” Concannon said in regards to involving students in the garden experience. They are able to see the growing process with their own eyes and learn how much work is involved in the entire process.
Thank you Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington, Nancy Allende, Supervising Nutritionist II, and Healthy Education Assistant II, Cherice Hendrickson from Nutrition & Health Promotion Branch for Riverside University Health System – Public Health, for visiting Winchester Elementary to learn more about our nutrition program.