ASD introducing Alaskan homegrown lunches


by Jessica Gruenling

ANCHORAGE, Ak-- At Creekside Elementary Wednesday, students had their lunches spiced up a bit. 

"We're having salmon paddies," Elizabeth, 5th grade student. 
"We're really excited to be offering Alaskan grown products," LaDona Dean, ASD Food and Menu Manager.
With the help of the nutrious Alaska food grant the Anchorage School District is looking to incorporate more nutritious and Alaskan grown food. 
 "Very few things qualify in Alaska other than  fish and produce. We have no dairy anymore, we have no fruit, so it really comes down to either fish products or produce products or vegetable products, which are more complicated because of our growing season and we have to do more planning on that," Alden Thern, Director of Student Nutriton for ASD. 
But plans are in the works to helpe faciliate the 18,000 lunches servied in the Anchorage School District every day. 
"Luckily, we have been able to meet with our produce vendors we met with them several months ago we're already planning a year ahead, so they can get with their growers, and their growers can plan the amounts that we need," Dean. 
This year students were also treated to Alaska grown coleslaw and barley flower.
Next year they can look forward to broccoli. potato wedges, and romain lettuces among other foods.
It's safe to say these kids are really enjoying their new options. 
"Tastes absolutely salmonly delicious," Izaak, 5th grade student. 
And they may not even realize how healthy this delicious treat is for them.
"It's high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is great especially because they found that omega 3 fatty acids prevent long term chronic health problems such as heart disease and stuff like that, so trying to get these kids on something like that early, this early is really really great," Dean. 
Not only will the use of Alaskan grown foods be beneficial for the students, but the economy as well.
"It helps the businesses. The students actually are really excited to find out when something is from here," Thern. 
"It's a win win all the way around," Dean. 
This is the second time students have been able to sample the salmon paddy and Thern says schools have called to double and triple their orders.