How do you get kids to eat their veggies?

You get them to grow them.

And how to you get kids to eat their school lunches?

Prepare meals like this: pork, carrots, apple and chard tacos with black bean, corn and tomato salsa with vinaigrette and a fruit kabob topped with a strawberry mint glaze.

That was the winning entry from the student team at L. Leo Judice Elementary, one of five schools that competed in the “On Cuisine du Jardin” competition for a chance to have their meal featured on the Lafayette Parish School System’s lunch menu.

French for “We cook from the garden,” the contest featured teams of three to four students with a teacher, community leader and a local chef using vegetables the kids grew at their schools.

The school garden program started in 2009 and is now in 10 schools through a collaborative effort of LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H youth development staff, Master Gardeners, the Lafayette Parish School System, Lafayette Consolidated Government and other sponsors.

As part of the program, students learn gardening skills and about the nutritional benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables.

“It has been a pleasure to observe students through this process as they learn and understand that they can grow their own food and learn how to cook it,” Candy Bienvenu, a Lafayette Parish master gardener, said in a news release. “It is making lifelong changes in their eating and exercising habits. Kids love to eat and cook what they grow.”

Serving on the first-place team were fifth-graders Logan Leger, Caitlyn Carter, Lanie Peltier and Emily Foret; fifth-grade teacher Cindy Dupre as coach; chef Mindy Prados, of Joey’s; and Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison.

Other teams in the May 30 competition held at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy were:

Second place: Charles Burke Elementary fourth-graders Sophie Landry, Ethan Hawkins, Attiya Smith and Collin Benoit; coach Pam Duhon, a physical education teacher; Chanel Gaudé, chef at Village Café; and Jared Bellard, Lafayette City-Parish Council member.

Third place: Green T. Lindon Elementary first-graders Ava Louviere and Wade Lejeune; third-graders Bailey Nelson and Austin Maturin; Principal Kay Victorian as coach; chef John Panaro; and Lauren Michel, a member of the Youngsville City Council.

Honorable mention: Judice Middle School sixth-graders Garrett Willis, Ambrie Frank and Braylon Peyton; Principal Sam Clay as coach; Marc Krampe, chef of Social Southern Table and Bar; and Brian Guidry, Ward 2 constable.

Honorable mention: St. Thomas More Catholic High School sophomore Adam Gilmore; junior Jake Mouton; ninth-graders Michael Tracy and Natalie Laborde; teacher Danielle Price as coach; chef Rick Melebeck Jr.; and Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel.