Source: The Wedge Community Co-op Newsletter
This fall, students at Minneapolis schools (MPS) will sit down to lunch, and eat dishes with names like Red Rice Explosion, Tic Tac Taco Salad, and UnBEETable Hummus. They're a far cry from the school lunches that greeted MPS students, even just a few years ago, when trays were regularly filled with prepackaged grapes and carrots, fried chicken nuggets, and maybe a few tater tots. Since then, a lot has changed, including the installation of fresh salad bars and on-site cooking kitchens in the majority of Minneapolis schools. Students are also taking an active role in what winds up on the menu, thanks to a pioneering partnership with local chefs, sponsored by the Wedge.
Three times each year, MPS conducts the True Food Taste Tests-a school event wherein students are exposed to new, flavorful dishes created by local chefs, and encouraged to think critically about them. Last year, more than 40,000 samples were distributed at 30 different schools, thanks to the Wedge's donation of 2,700 pounds of fruits and vegetables.
Students sampled the dishes, had discussions, filled out surveys, and entered their ideas into a naming contest. The most popular items were added to school lunch menus (with their student-chosen names), to be available throughout the year. Some were so well-liked that parents requested the recipes, which the schools included in their newsletters so families could make them at home.