Kalispell Schools Gets New Kitchen And Garden - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Kalispell Schools Gets New Kitchen And Garden

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KALISPELL - Breakfast and lunch may have tasted better these last few days if you're going to school in Kalispell.

The new central kitchen was just finished and has been up and running for about a month.

The new kitchen replaced the old cooking space underneath Flathead High School, where they had been basically since World War II.

"We can hardly believe how beautiful it is and how functional it is," said Jenny Montague, who is the Food Service Director.

Last year, the community backed a bond that added to some money the food service program had been saving up for about a decade, meaning the district could shell out $1 million to build a safer kitchen that is totally up to health code.

"We were spending so much time just making things work in the past that now we can work on making it better," said Montague.

From just this one kitchen, fifteen people are now cooking lunches and breakfasts that go out to seven Kalispell schools. Just getting in and out and around the old kitchen was tough. That's not a problem now.

Maybe the biggest difference between the old space and the new space is the garden, where they'll be growing their own food, cooking and harvesting their own produce within feet of each other.

"My mission as a Food Corps member is to connect kids with the source of their foods so that they can grow up healthy," said Jessica Manly, a Food Corps Service member, "We are overcoming the obesity epidemic. We're teaching kids about where their food comes from so they don't think that food just comes from the supermarket, or comes in a bag."

They're hoping to get final approval of the layout from the grounds supervisor this Thursday, but the district has already green-lit the idea. The garden would hug the back wall and wrap around the kitchen in an L-shape. Kale, lettuce, corn, and beans are just a few things they plan to start planting here in June.

A full-time worker would take care of some of the garden's heavy lifting, but Manly says some of the cooks and volunteers would pitch in as well. You can email her if you're interested in helping out at jessica.manly@foodcorps.org.

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