Farm-to-school programs

Our school cafeterias are giving students the opportunity to enjoy nutritious food grown locally. The Farm Fresh Friday and Harvest of the Month programs take place to support healthy lifestyle habits and teach students about agriculture and the local farms their foods come from.

Farm Fresh Friday

Ruby red grapefruit slices

The Texas Department of Agriculture created the Farm Fresh Friday initiative to connect Texans all across our state to agriculture and our local farmers and ranchers.  The Farm Fresh goal is to increase awareness of the integral role agriculture plays in our lives and improving wellness in our community.  Every Friday, our cafeterias will feature a Texas-grown menu item.

When students make the Farm Fresh choice they support the hardworking producers across our state and help improve the local economy.

Harvest of the Month

Each month a different locally grown fruit or vegetable option is available in our cafeterias. Agricultural fact sheets teach students about the products and farms of Texas. We hope to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that students are eating.

Kale

Kale

Enjoy fresh Texas Kale in your cafeteria.

Kale is a leafy green that appears on many lists of trendy superfoods, and probably with good reason. Kale is highly nutritious, containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, and brain-boosting phytonutrients. 

Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, arugula and collard greens. Kale is easy to grow and generally inexpensive. It’s one of the simplest crops for local farmers to grow, thriving in small plots of land and personal gardens. 

Kale is high in vitamins K, A and C. Vitamin K is important for heart health, blood clotting, bone health, cancer prevention and diabetes prevention. Vitamin A helps support skin health and vision. Vitamin C is important for immune health and joint health, helps to keep the body hydrated and also increases your metabolism.

Kale has a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary for heart health. Studies have linked omega-6 fatty acids to a decreased risk of heart disease.

Kale is also a good source of potassium, with about 8 percent of the recommended daily intake per cup but significantly fewer calories than most high-potassium foods, such as bananas. Potassium is an essential part of heart health, according to the American Heart Association

With one cup of cooked kale containing 10 percent of daily fiber needs, kale can be helpful for those managing diabetes. With just 33 calories per cup, kale is a popular diet food. Kale can help in weight loss and weight management because fiber helps to keep you fuller longer.

Research suggests that kale is likely most helpful in protecting against bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancers. Antioxidants are incredibly important to help remove free radicals from the body that can lead to accelerated aging as well as serious diseases such as cancer. Kale is an especially good source of the antioxidants lutein, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercitin, which are all associated with possible cancer benefits.