Garden to Cafeteria: Thank you cooks!

Thank you Heather and Pam for making the cafeteria a healthier place!

The Hamilton/SOTA 1 and State Road Elementary school gardens are not just for the students to learn how to plant seeds and maintain a garden, but also to learn how to harvest and eat what they have grown. The Hamilton/SOTA 1 cook, Heather Skiles, plays a huge role in helping to integrate the school garden into the cafeteria. Without Heather’s desire to serve fresh and nutritious food on her menu, none of this would be possible.

Since school began in July, Heather has communicated with the Grow La Crosse staff to have the following harvested from the garden to serve on the salad bar during lunch; kale, Swiss chard, arugula, cherry tomatoes, basil, and melon. Reflecting on how the garden has benefited the students, Heather stated, “I know they get excited to have the items on the salad bar and are far more willing to try them since they helped grow them. I believe that something from the garden should always be utilized.”

Along with the salad bar, Heather has also utilized kale from the garden. She served the students a fresh kale salad with mandarin oranges, carrots, and cherry tomatoes with a home-made dressing. The students love to see food from their garden being served in the cafeteria, and we are so happy that Heather is willing to help make that happen.

At State Road, cook Pam Veglahn, also has integrated fresh produce from the garden into the salad bar.  She has used arugula, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and basil.

We are very thankful for these cooks who go out of their way to add extra nutrition from the garden into the cafeteria.

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Heather Skiles adding fresh Swiss chard to the cafeteria lunch.


Pam Veglahn  at State Road Elementary School adds garden produce to the salad bar.


Swiss chard making an appearance in the Hamilton/SOTA 1 salad bar.

Thank you Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare for your corporate sponsorship which allows us to connect more children to healthy food and nature.