There is a new option for lunch at La Follette! The bright colored trucks outside of the activities entrance is bringing in fresh and unique food options for students. The trucks have been coming to La Follette since 2018. They come every Tuesday during the lunch hour. “I say it is convenient enough for students because it is right outside the school,” Apollo Kaufman (11) said. Students only need their ID number and money in their lunch account.
The new lunch option has come from a collaboration with the Madison Metropolitan School District and a group called REAP. REAP is a company with the goal of getting people in the Madison area. The company helps local farmers sell their food that they grow and then get the food to the people in the community, whether it be to restaurants or to a school.
One way REAP is reaching out to the community is having these food trucks come for lunch at high schools. The truck visits East, West, and La Follette. REAP also teaches high schoolers and middle schoolers how to cook farm fresh food with a professional Madison chef. Elementary students are given fresh vegetables and fruits along with being taught about nutrition, how food is grown and prepared, farming, and much more. REAP has four AmeriCorps Nutrition educators teach these lessons on nutrition. The “Farmer in the Classroom” program involves local farmers coming to talk to a class about what they have to do get the food students eat for lunch or snack. REAP also puts fresh food in cafeterias, going right from local farms to school meals. REAP not only works with schools but also the community, leading lessons at community centers and catering events for taste tests. REAP wants everyone to be able to experience what farm fresh food is really like and make it convenient.
The food is new and different from the normal options in the cafeteria. The cafeteria and the commons have the same few options everyday like salads and sandwiches, pizza and a variety of grab and go lunches. With the food truck, students get an opportunity to explore different types of meals that might not normally be made at home or in a regular cafeteria. The options range from a jerk chicken sandwich to spicy macaroni and cheese. The possibilities are endless. “I think overall the quality is better and the food is just different from what we have,” Kaufman added.
The UpRoot food truck is a positive addition to MMSD high schools. Having students be able to try a variety of different foods is an eye-opening experience many wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. The food being locally grown and prepared is more ways the food truck is a positive addition. The food being served is never shipped from a different state, or kept frozen leading to little or no taste. It is fresh from a farm, hand grown, and good for the body. Many students don’t have that option for a meal and with REAP sending the food truck around it gives that opportunity to students. “The food truck is a great experience. It’s a way for kids who don’t get many opportunities to have farm fresh meals and that is a really great thing,” Kaufman concluded.