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School Lunches Get Healthy Makeover In Camden Through Partnership With Local Farmers

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- School lunch has gotten a healthy makeover in Camden. More fresh food is on the menu, sourced from local farmers.

It's a pilot program partnership between schools and farmers. It's a win-win for both.

"I am excited for this opportunity, I'm excited for my community. I'm excited for the students," Senior Director of School Nutrition Arlethia Brown said.

Taking farm to table to a whole new level. The Camden City School District will be getting quite the daily dose of vegetables in their cafeterias. The district is now receiving many farm-fresh deliveries.

"It is important to ensure that healthy options are made available. Anyone can go to McDonald's, anybody can go to Burger King or whatever. But we are producing fresh salads, fresh opportunities," Brown said.

The food is all locally grown and Jersey-sourced thanks to farmers like Desmond Hayes, who owns GeoGreens. The hydroponic, indoor growing operation is based in Hamilton and his passion for nutrition is clear.

"Sounds cheesy but it starts with the kids. Kids like what they eat, they tell their parents, parents tell more people and it contains that ball and circulation and before you know you get a lot of people looking for healthier foods," Hayes said.

"Here is a minority farmer that's taking food to a whole other level," Brown said.

This concept requires a lot of partnerships to work. It's made possible thanks to Full Futures, Campbell Soup, and a nonprofit and local food distributor, The Common Market.

"How do we ensure that students are accessing the highest quality food in schools and how can we make it really easy to do that while simultaneously supporting growers that are in the students' communities?" said Rachel Terry, national partnership director with The Common Market.

Brown says she hopes this concept takes off in other schools.

"It's not just about Camden, it's about just growing the opportunity and understanding nutrition education, understanding farm to table," she said.

The goal is to feature the nutritious produce in lunch lines for school years to come and add more farms to the delivery list.

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