But what is it? SWEET POTATOES!

They may not have realized it, but yesterday in the cafeteria Chesnut Changers became grassroots marketers!  They were encouraging their classmates to take and taste the local food of the month: baked sweet potatoes. They did this by talking it up in the lunch line, and awarding hand stamps to anyone who tasted their sweet potato at the lunch table. They were also responsible for turning in numbers for our marketing report, counting up how many children bought lunch, and of these, how many tasted sweet potato. Special thanks go out to Lauryn Sparks, Sofia Renals, Andie Bellus, Jack Bellus, Kira Holmes, Sam Grant, Harrison Thomas, Shay Martin, Emma Davis, Addison Eckard, Madison Hummel and Juliette Mijangos for running the program at their tables.

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This is one of the Chesnut Changers’ regular activities: promoting Dekalb County’s new Farm to School (F2S) program, which features one Georgia grown vegetable or fruit in the cafeteria each month. At our after-school meetings, the Changers have learned why locally grown foods are better for the environment and highly nutritious. Last month we reviewed the success of our marketing efforts by examining data from Granny Smith Apple Day that reported how many children who bought lunch chose the local food, and of these, how many tasted it. The kids had fun looking up their own class and the class with the highest and lowest percentage of apple eaters.

The kids decided we could improve our efforts to let Chesnut students know about the local food of the month. We talked about the power of consistent messaging (the kids helped demonstrate this by sharing well-known product slogans), and agreed to create a morning announcement we could reuse every month, as well as a slogan to communicate why the F2S food is special. Thanks to Emily Katz, Emma Davis, Aaron Frank, Madison Hummel, Andie Bellus, Juliette Mijangos, Addison Eckard, Megan McCloskey, Madison Jones, the students and staff heard this advertisement over the morning announcements leading up to Sweet Potato Day:

“It’s healthy for you; it’s a good treat too.
It grows in Georgia.
It doesn’t come from far away,
So they’re really good to eat today.
But, what IS it?
SWEET POTATOES!!”(obviously this last part is the kids’ favorite)

The Chesnut Changers decided to concentrate our poster ads to the cafeteria lunch line the week of the local food, and created the slogan: “Eat me, eat me! I’m very sweet! Eat me, eat me! I’m the best treat to eat!” We hope that these posters reappearing each month will signal the kids to look for the F2S lunch item.

So how did we do? A direct comparison cannot be made between Apple Day and Sweet Potato Day marketing results because the sweet potatoes weren’t ready to be served until after the Pre-K, Kindergarten and 2nd Grade classes had already come through the lunch line. Unfortunately our Chesnut Changers in these grades didn’t get to participate in our “man-at-the-lunch-table” marketing. Next time! Once we have marketed the F2S program and measured its effects over several months, we hope that progress will be evident in the number of kids trying the Georgia grown food.

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