ONEKAMA -- It’s
pretty simple. If the food at a restaurant tastes good, the
restaurant will be busy.
Onekama Consolidated Schools has found out that the same thing is
true at a school cafeteria.
Since the start of the year, with the help of a $60,000 grant from
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Onekama schools
has joined with Frankfort-Elberta and Benzie Central schools to
offer students a Farm to School program that brings fresher local
foods to their cafeterias.
According to Onekama superintendent Kevin Hughes, the number of
students taking advantage of the hot lunch program this year is
about 300 per day, up from about 100 last year. Hughes said he is
particularly happy that many more teachers are eating in the
cafeteria this year. "We've been able to convert the cafeteria from
heat and serve to cut and cook," Hughes said.
The program got
its start in 2004, when Tom Stobie became superintendent of
“Having more fresh foods in the cafeteria is a vision I had for a
long time,” he said, adding that in 2005 he hired Renee DeWindt to
be in charge of the cafeteria and she made that vision a reality.
Currently DeWindt is an employee of the Traverse Bay Intermediate
School District, which allows her to divide her time between the
When Onekama built a new kitchen as part of renovations that opened
last year, they used a layout similar to Frankfort’s. There are
large freezers and equipment to preserve food -- so large quantities
can be purchased when it is in season and it can be served
throughout the year.