Café #110, Waconia’s Nutrition Service and the “LEAF Initiative” have grown to become one of the district’s flagship programs. It encompasses Farm to School, school gardens, scratch cooking with local ingredients, “Smarter Lunchroom” strategies, and comprehensive waste reduction and organic recycling practices while meeting all the federal “Health and Hunger-Free Kids Act” guidelines. The LEAF Initiative is changing the paradigm of school lunch programs.
The LEAF (Love Eating Authentic Food) Initiative is transforming Waconia’s Nutrition Service by making the healthy choice the preferred, affordable, and sustainable choice for all students, staff, parents, and the community.
The Waconia School District has a comprehensive school nutritional program that meets all the federal “Health and Hunger-Free Kids Act,” National School Lunch, Breakfast, and Smart Snack regulations while maintaining a positive fund balance every year. It prepares a significant portion of its meals from scratch utilizing locally sourced foods. The quality and convenience of the school meal program have resulted in student participation rates of 85%, and the LEAF Initiative is beginning to make a positive difference in the dietary habits of students and staff.
School meals are available to all students regardless of income, and these meals are also available to staff and the public at an affordable price. The LEAF Initiative is also about promoting economic development for local farmers and food vendors. Approximately 30% of prepared meals are locally sourced, and plans are in the works to expand this percentage and provide specified foods prepared in the district’s kitchen to other surrounding school districts.