Grant will also enable district meals to be made in university kitchens.
The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded Saint Louis University a $248,000 “farm to school” grant to improve school lunches and teach business skills in the Maplewood Richmond Heights district — and boost local farmers in the process. The grant is designed to encourage children to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables and to get those fruits and vegetables to the schools.
SLU will work with the Missouri Farmers Union to select area farmers who can replace foods on Maplewood Richmond Heights' menu with locally grown produce. The goal is that, by the end of the three-year grant, a fifth of the food the district serves will come from local farmers.
That food will be processed and prepared in a converted industrial kitchen at the Salus Center, on the SLU Medical Center campus, and then delivered to Maplewood Richmond Heights schools to be served as part of school lunches.
The Salus Center also will host a culinary education program where district foodservice workers and middle school students will learn how to prepare healthier foods that are high in protein or locally grown. The students will also launch their own business, selling a product they create using locally grown produce.