Students Grow School Lunches

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MIDDLEBURG -- Students in one part of Snyder County are putting their green thumbs to good use.

They’re eating healthy foods and saving their school money at the same time.

Students at Midd-West High School in Middleburg are taking some of their lessons outside the classroom. More than 100 students planted a garden outside the school. Many help harvest and maintain it.

“It's just really neat to come out here for a class and do this instead of just sitting in a classroom reading about it we can actually do it,” said Benjamin Lizardi, a junior.

Grant money was used to build the garden last year. The fresh fruits and vegetables don`t just sit there, either. As soon as they are ready to eat, the high school serves them in its cafeteria.

“We use a lot of the cherry tomatoes, the green peppers, and even the hot peppers. The kids in the sandwich line love the banana peppers,” said Patricia Kahler, kitchen manager.

Around 40 pounds of produce was brought into the school cafeteria from the garden in September. That is 40 pounds of produce the kitchen manager does not have to order, saving the school district money.

“It cuts back on my ordering. It cuts down on my end of it,” said Kahler.

So far, the garden has produced more than 200 pounds of food. Some of that was donated to local food banks as a way of giving back to the community. Students said they like helping others and bringing healthy food into their school.

“Instead of just going to lunch every day and eating, you can say I helped grow this food,” said Lizardi.

“The salads seem to be really good lately. I like the idea of having this, and the school's money isn't being spent on food the kids don't even eat,” said Quinton Davis, a junior.

The school district hopes to expand the garden over the next few months.