When you’re a part of the GTP family!
Over the past year, GTP has done a major overhaul to our meal service offerings. You may or may not have seen us touting that we became pioneers once again in 2014 by launching the state of Kentucky’s first Kentucky Proud Farm to Preschool program. However, the changes to the food program are about more than just local food. The changes stem from our belief that we are here to care for the WHOLE child.
Step One: Overall Healthier Menu & Kentucky Proud Farm to Preschool
We eliminated all processed, pre-fried foods -
Goodbye chicken nuggets & tater tots! This year our kids learned to eat grilled chicken, salmon, pumpkin, and spinach & strawberry salad. We saved on our food costs by breaking up with our giant food delivery service and partnering with Lazy Eight Stock Farm (http://lazyeightstockfarm.com) for our produce needs and CSA delivery for our families. This fall we expanded by ordering apples & pears from Reed Valley Orchard (http://www.reedvalleyorchard.com) – we can’t wait for berries next spring! The KY Department of Agriculture certified our program as Kentucky Proud (http://www.kyproud.com)!
Step Two: Learn Where Your Food Comes From
We partnered with Seedleaf (http://www.seedleaf.org) to install two gardens on our
playground. Our groundhog friends made this a challenge, but we worked together to find a solution. Seedleaf (http://www.seedleaf.org) also worked with us on our Reforest the Preschool project by planting fruit trees on the playground. Mr. Ryan from Seedleaf (http://www.seedleaf.org) conducted weekly gardening activities with the children. They planted seeds, watched them grow, and tasted what grew. They also learned all about composting! The children collected the food waste from the kitchen, added it to the compost bin, and measured the temperature to ensure it was “cooking” properly.
Step Three: Thinking Beyond Ourselves
Our next step is improving our weekly cooking activities with the children. To do this we will partner with GleanKY (http://faithfeedslex.org/gleanlexington/) , an organization that gleans food from local farms and groceries and distributes it to nonprofit feeding programs in our community. They will conduct a cooking activity with the children using gleaned produce. Each class will make one item for the class to taste and 3-4 more to donate to Arbor Youth Services (http://arborky.org) , a shelter for at-risk youth in our community.
Why It Matters
As we said earlier, here at GTP we are all about caring for and supporting the WHOLE child. It began back in 1982 when our mission to form the first inclusive preschool program in the area helped make our community a better place by teaching that all human beings are important and valued. Children of various abilities and advantages were able to play together, learn together and grow together. Since our inception, we have cared for the academic, physical, social and emotional needs of all of the children in our care. As times have changed, so have we. This food program and these partnerships expand on that awareness.
We are very excited about these partnerships! The fact that we have been able to partner with these wonderful nonprofits to improve the health and lives of the children in our program and other programs makes it all worthwhile!