Power Up Cafe


Cypress-Fairbanks ISD’s Power Up Café has a unique approach to promoting positive nutritional information to students, staff and parents. Serving as the district’s nutrition services department, the staff of six registered dietitians teamed up with Ready to Grow Gardens, an education company that works with Houston-area schools, to design, install, and teach students about growing outdoor gardens. Working alongside district teachers, the “Garden Day” curriculum is taught to students in grades Pre-K through fifth grade.

Recently, third grade students at Sampson Elementary harvested a large amount of the kale grown in their school garden and prepped it for cooking while Power Up Cafe dietitians Emmy Durand, Michelle Voelkel and Chef Brent Trudeau finished and baked the kale into chips in the school cafeteria.

Two hundred proud Sampson Stallion third graders tasted their kale chips during lunch one day and absolutely loved them – so much so that many students ended up clamoring for more. “It is so rewarding to see the students encouraging their classmates to try new foods,” said Stephanie Baker, owner of Ready to Grow Gardens. “It’s even more rewarding to see how happy they are to be trying food they grew themselves!”

Although the third graders at Sampson were in for a special treat that day, all Cy-Fair ISD elementary students benefitted from the kale harvest: Cy-Fair Nutrition Services incorporated kale on the menu across the district’s 54 elementary schools so that all students could have the opportunity to participate in the tasting of the monthly harvest. Next on the menu: the Cabbage Harvest! #IAmTXEd Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District