Wareham cafeterias get growing with fresh produce from hydroponic systems

Jun 21, 2018

Organic produce grown inside the cafeteria is on the menu for Wareham Middle and High School students, Food Service Director Rob Shaheen said during Wednesday’s school committee meeting.

Basil and three varieties of lettuce are growing in two hydroponic systems, one located in the middle school and one in the high school. Shaheen said the systems, which rely on a mineral solution instead of soil, are part of his efforts to offer a variety of healthful options.

“We’re here to bring 'fresh' back into the school cafeteria,” said Shaheen.

The hydroponic systems were purchased with federal grant funds. Shaheen said the systems are located near the serving area and students watch staff members pick and prep the vegetables.

“It’s simple: We cut, wash and serve the produce right there in front of students,” said Shaheen. “They love seeing where their food is coming from.”

During his report, Shaheen said he wants to install a third hydroponic system at Decas Elementary School, bring chefs into the cafeteria for demonstrations and add new recipes to the menu.

School committee members praised Shaheen for his efforts.

“School lunch has really come a long way,” said Chair Joyce Bacchiocchi.