Carpinteria High School – Good (food) things happening!

“Hey! Are you that girl? The girl who rode from Oregon?” asks a skinny kid as I wheel my bike and trailer onto Carp High’s campus. “Yup.” I answer.  “I bought a road bike because of you!” he hollers as he rounds the corner, rushing to reach his class before the tardy bell. And that was the start of my great day in Carpinteria.

Highlights from my visit include a farm that produces food for the kitchen, administrators who are passionate about health and real food, enthusiastic & creative food services staff and motivated students. One day on campus gave me great insight into the culture at this school and I was mightily impressed with both the changes that have occurred and their vision for the future.

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Construction is underway for a brand-new Culinary Arts classroom that will feature full commercial kitchen stations and a large accompanying classroom. The teacher hopes to move into her new digs by mid-winter. I can’t wait to learn what meals will emerge from this resource! Carp High’s school garden is huge and magnificent. Fruit trees, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, kale, flowers and so much more! Compost plays a key role in the farm’s system and compost tea is always brewing in the shed to help facilitate plant growth. Produce from the garden supplies the daily, beautiful salad bar and I enjoyed a gorgeous plate of greens and veggies for my mid day meal. The kitchen staff proudly showed me around the kitchen and their enthusiasm for the food that they prepare is palpable. If only every school kitchen contained this much passion! Another highlight of my visit was a conversation with a student who recently started a bike club on campus. He was curious to learn about fundraisers and potential events they could host.

This combination of bike love and real food made Carp High a great stop on the SFT. Big thanks to all the students and staff!

Healthy eating and academic performance

What do wholesome meals and test scores have in common?

Quite a bit, according to public health research. One neat part about managing a blog is that I have access to every search engine query that directs a visitor to my site. I have noticed a remarkable number of Google searches on the topic of healthy eating and academic performance – an encouraging trend! Below, for interested folks, is a quick round-up of research and resources that should help to explicate the relationship between good food and a sharp mind. Enjoy!

  • Journal of American Public Health Association: Hollar, et al concluded that children who participated in an obesity prevention program that included healthy food “had significantly higher math scores”.
  • The American Dietetic Association: Rampersaud, et al. state, “Evidence suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance.”
  • Journal of School Health: Florence, et al. found “an association between diet quality and academic performance.”
  • Reuters: Healthy Diet Means Better School Performance
  • Healthy Eating Research has a long list of additional resources.
  • What about physical activity and academics? According to Leadership for Healthy Communities, test scores increase along with amount of physical activity. Learn more here.