Navigating a lunchroom filled with jocks, goths, preps, and drama kids is no easy task. Luckily for some, the reward is huge — students today have far more to look forward to come lunchtime than past generations. If cafeteria food makes you think of hamburgers on stale buns, tiny milk cartons, and mystery meat, think again. You won’t find any sloppy Joes on this list — extra sloppy or not. Think fresh produce, local fish and meat-free meals.
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With the school year drawing to a close and summer vacation a few weeks away, let’s take a look back at what high school students across the country indulged in during lunch period.
America’s high schools are also providing food-focused programs that will blow you away. Students across the nation are getting the opportunity to run farms, staff school cafés, work as chefs, and play with their food — with very impressive results.
To craft this list we looked for high school initiatives that feature local food, community-driven food-related efforts that emphasize sustainability and education, schools that allow students to harvest produce for their own meals, and programs that replicate the experience of working in restaurants and cafés for students with culinary aspirations. These programs give students concrete experience in the kitchen and improve their customer service skills, which is invaluable for young chefs in training.
After learning about these programs, and a few other interesting ones we stumbled upon along the way, it’s very clear that high school food lovers are rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty — literally — to learn more about food.
So before you whip out your sparkly pens and autograph a few dozen yearbooks, check out the Most Unique High School Food.