National School Lunch Week ran from October 15th through the 19th, and AMD photojournalist John Anderson stopped by Pakachoag Elementary School on the last day to observe meal time during their Special Guest Lunch. Students were joined by a parent, grandparent or other special person for a nutritious lunch that included pizza, salad, fruit and beverages.

School lunches are very important to growing children, and breakfasts are also popular. For some, these are the only balanced meals they will get on a school day, especially those who have economic challenges. Have a look as one grade dines in the cafetorium.

Later in the day, the Auburn Public Schools food service team hosted a Community Tasting event at the middle school in cooperation with the Worcester Regional Food Hub and Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. The event featured a menu highlighting seasonal ingredients from local farms, and several hundred residents and students took advantage.

In 2017, Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, along with Auburn Public Schools, was awarded a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to create a model expanding access to and consumption of specialty crops required in the National School Lunch Program.

The Worcester Regional Food Hub has partnered to provide local food for this effort. Representatives from these organizations shared lessons learned from the program, and area farmers provided samples of their efforts.

It was a tasty and informative evening indeed.