SHIP stories:

  • Schools take healthy eating efforts to next level

    More fresh, locally-grown foods will soon make their way into cafeterias in Park Rapids and Laporte school districts, thanks to a $45,000 Farm to School grant awarded to the districts through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Learn more.

  • Healthy changes lead Kelliher School District to big honor

    Kelliher School District is the first and only district in the U.S. to win the Gold Award of Distinction under new, harder-to-achieve criteria in the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms competition, which recognizes districts that successfully incorporate nutrition and physical activity into their curriculum. Learn more.


SHIP is Working to Create Healthier Environments for Children

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity and healthy foods have also been proven to improve test scores and overall behavior in school.

Blackduck Schools have been working towards increasing physical activity for students throughout the school day. To learn more about the Blackduck school DropZone click here

SHIP has been working within school districts in LOW, Clearwater, Beltrami and Hubbard counties. This is what we have been up to!

  • Farm to School

  • Active Recess

  • Active Classrooms

  • School Garden

  • Safe Routes to School

Food service training is offered to all schools in the four county region of LOW, Clearwater, Beltrami and Hubbard counties. 

Our Partners:

Park Rapids
Lake of the Woods



For School Success Stories Click on the Link Below

Success Story 1: Kelliher Farm to School Initiative

Success Story 2: Blackduck Drop Zone

Success Story 3: LOW Smoke Free Class of 2026





Nutrition Intervention  

The North Country SHIP Community Leadership Team chose Nutrition for the school intervention. 

The SHIP specific intervention is:
Implement comprehensive nutrition policies, including breakfast promotion; healthy lunch and snacks, including classroom celebrations and incentives, fundraising, concessions, and vending; school gardens; and Farm-to-School initiatives.


SHIP understands that school-based nutrition strategies and comprehensive programming can improve dietary practices that affect young persons’ health, growth, and intellectual development and in turn, prevent immediate health problems related to poor nutrition choices, obesity, and long-term health problems.


These strategies can assist youth in attaining full educational potential and good health by providing them with the skills, social support, and environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term healthy eating behaviors.  This will lead to fewer absences, greater academic achievement, reduced chronic disease, and reduced health care costs in Minnesota.

School Health Index

As part of the Assessment of the nutrition programming at school, School Wellness Committees completed the School Health Index (SHI), a self-assessment and planning guide available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  The tool enables the schools to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of the school’s policies and programs that promote health and safety.  The SHI is available at:         

With the School Health Index completed, schools will develop a school-specific action plan related to strengthening the nutrition programming at their school.

Farm To School Program

One evidence-based nutrition program available to schools is the Farm-to-School programs.  The Willmar School District became one of the first schools in the state to offer such a program, wanting to offer healthy, home grown menu items to promote healthy food choices to students.  The first year they offered ‘taste tests’ of locally grown apples, bison, squash, and wild rice in their cafeteria.  Local foods now appear in cafeteria menus about once a month.  They have expanded to locally grown tomatoes, whole wheat flour, garlic, oatmeal, dried beans, potatoes, cabbage, and cheese.  You can read more about the Farm-to-school program at

Schools may also develop the breakfast programming by offering the “Healthy Breakfast” initiative, strengthen their wellness policy,  or plan school gardens.

As a result of the SHIP initiative with schools, our goals are to have all K-12 schools having increased access to and offering nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables and that there is increased consumption of these foods among students.

Click here to learn more about our success in the Kelliher School District!

Benefits of Intervention

Intervention will lead to fewer absences, greater academic achievement, reduced chronic disease, and reduced health care costs in Minnesota.

Quick Links         

1) School Health Index Tool LINK

2)Farm to School program LINK

2)Healthy Breakfast initiative LINK



Public Health

Minnesota Public Health

Click on the image below for information

about Minnesota Public Health