Lesli Mueller

Lesli Mueller

Lesli Mueller, Hutchinson Public Schools’ director of food services, wants students to get more out of her program.

“It’s not just breakfast and lunch,” she told the School Board Monday evening. “The sky is the limit.”

A few ideas on her mind include student activities such as taste testing, a school garden and a farm-to-school program that promotes the use of local products on school menus.

“I can’t do it all in one year,” Mueller said, adding that support from staff, the school board and the community may be required.

To prepare for growth, Mueller reorganized responsibilities in school lunchrooms across the district to allow managers in each building to take on a project. She expects the first sign of growth will come in the form of an after-school program at the high school or middle school in the coming school year.

“I would like to do more farm-to-school and gardens,” she said. “A lot of schools in the state take advantage of those programs and it affects students in a positive way.”

Other schools have used school gardens as outdoor classrooms and connected with the arts. Others have connected with the sciences, such as with the addition of bee houses used for pollination. Mueller also suggested the program could be connected with the high school’s TigerPath career exploration program.

“(That’s just) a couple of examples of where we could take things,” she said.

To get started, she suggested a committee may be formed.

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