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  • Brandywine Heights Elementary School Students Garden

    Description

    The Brandywine Heights Elementary School Garden Committee, consisting of the school principal, food service staff, Business Manager, Secretary, teachers, and other school personnel, distributed “Seed Kits” to each K-3 classroom. This allowed students to plant and tend to the seedlings until they were strong enough to be planted in the raised bed garden located by the front door of the school. The school maintenance staff built the raised beds and supplied the soil. Family and community groups tended the garden over the summer. Gardening tools and gloves were located in the school office for those who came to the garden during school hours. The garden consists of two raised beds each being approximately 5 feet by 12 feet. This allowed for two rows of crops in each garden, thus allowing external student access. One raised bed has heirloom and Roma tomatoes, along with basil. The other raised bed garden is growing pumpkins, zucchinis and carrots. Everyone was kept informed of the project via email. Students tasted products from the garden upon their return to school in the fall.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Ilyse Moyer
    Contact Person’s Title: Business Manager Sec
    Email: ilmoyer@bhask.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (610) 982-5141

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will experience every aspect of gardening.
    • Students will experience the superior qualities of locally grown produce.
    • Students will be motivated to try new fruits and vegetables.
    • Students will learn and understand the origin and sources of their food.

    Advice

    • It was helpful to have a supportive Garden Committee to assist with the garden during the school day. They assembled Seedling Kits, supervised the construction of the raised beds, and were present to help plant seedlings when needed.
    • Support from the superintendent, principal, and other school staff is essential for success.
    • Involve all stakeholders in your garden project. Parents, school board members, local vendors, and students from other grade level schools are a wonderful help.

    Evidence of Success

    • The enthusiasm among the school personnel and parents was infectious. Everyone that viewed the garden was talking about it.
    • The superintendent has asked for a larger garden and possibly additional gardens at other school locations.
  • Fairmount Alternative School Increases School Garden: State College Area School District

    Description

    As a downtown alternative education facility space is at a premium and new ways are always being sought to engage the students and stimulate their interest.

    With this in mind the school looked for new ways to grow plants via a hydroponic garden in the classroom, and indoor greenhouse system to start seedlings and a new space to grow plants. This new space was an herb garden created from corrugated pipe, a series of potato pots and a raised trellis garden bed in which vining plants are grown.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Patrick Wills
    Contact Person’s Title: Counselor
    Email: pdw904@gmail.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: 814-932-2352

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Expand the existing school garden
    • Increase the variety of crops
    • Students will use the school garden to facilitate classroom discussions and for hands on learning

    Advice

    • Include the students in decision making. This will generate student buy in and they will be more likely to get involved and try new vegetables.

    Evidence of Success

    • Students were constantly asking if they could use their free time to go to work in the garden.
    • Students were all vested in the garden's success and were all willing to try new food items that they helped to grow.
  • Great Valley School District Offers Elementary Students Garden Fresh Taste Tests

    Description

    Great Valley School District uses local produce, often from their own school garden, to prepare items for their Farmers Market Taste Testing Program at their elementary schools. The samples are fresh, homemade, and free. Items sampled include mushroom soup, roasted broccoli and carrots, and sweet potato mash. The items are served free to students during lunch service with accompanying lessons on the nutritional benefits of the item being sampled. Feedback is encouraged from both students and staff.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Kelsey Gartner
    Contact Person’s Title: Nutrition/Garden Coordinator
    Email: kgartner@gvsd.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (610) 322-8037

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • To induce positive changes in student perception toward trying new foods
    • To determine which recipes are well received and introduce them onto our regular cycle menu
    • To significantly reduce fruit and vegetable waste
    • To have teachers serve as role models by trying new foods in front of students

    Advice

    • Be aware of the food allergies of your students and plan accordingly.
    • Keep recipes simple and avoid items which contain common allergens in order to reduce concerns of parents, students, and staff.
    • If an item is not a hit try it again at a later date, possibly in a different form. Sometimes it takes several taste test experiences for students to decide they actually liked an item.

    Evidence of Success

    • After the kids taste the sample they are asked if they would buy the item if it were offered in the cafeteria. The mushroom soup received great feedback. Asking for verbal feedback will enable a school to see if it will be welcomed on the menu. Students are candid while giving feedback.
  • Vida Charter School Expands Garden and Uses it to Teach Students

    Description

    Students at Vida Charter School were involved in a variety of gardening activities. Students in grades 4-6, under the leadership of two science teachers, carried out experiments which involved exposing plants to varying amounts of light which was provided by an indoor light stand. They also planted tomatillo, pepper, and squash plants to transplant to the outdoor garden, and bean plants that the students later took home.

    Grades K-3, as part of a Healthy Lifestyles class started tomato, cilantro, basil, broccoli, cabbage, and pepper plants which were also transplanted into the outdoor garden. These were later sold at the spring family fair and also taken home by the students.

    Outdoors, students constructed two new 4'x12' raised garden beds, which doubled the outdoor garden space. Students transplanted seedlings that they had started indoors, as well as directly planted seeded lettuce, kale, spinach, and snow peas.

    Second graders, with the help of a college intern, assembled a tumbling composter which expanded the school's child-friendly composting system.

    Students at all grade levels enjoyed sampling the spring garden harvest which consisted of strawberries, lettuce, spinach, kale, and even the edible weeds lambs' quarters and purslane. Having the snow peas reach maturity a couple days before the end of the school year was a special treat, so the youngest students were able to see their crop through from seed to tasting.

    Community collaboration helped to make the gardening experiences strong. Support was given from both Gettysburg College students and volunteers from Everblossom Farm. Mini-grant funding also enabled 12 of Vida's students to participate in a cooking and nutrition course (six sessions) at the Adams County Arts Council this spring. They prepared foods with nutrient-dense ingredients, highlighting fruits and vegetables. This experience equips the participating students with skills to use foods which can either be grown by themselves or purchased from a local farm or market.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Cynthia Maldonado
    Contact Person’s Title: Executive Director
    Email: cynthiamaldonado@vidacharterschool.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (717) 334-3643

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • To maintain and expand the indoor and outdoor gardens at Vida Charter School
    • To allow students more opportunities in gardening
    • To use the school garden for classroom science study
    • To have plants for sale at family spring fair

    Advice

    • Start small and use what resources you have available.
    • Look for opportunities to expand your garden and include the community.

    Evidence of Success

    • Students are enthusiastic to plant, visit, and harvest the garden.
    • Students are willing to try items grown in the garden and are more likely to be adventurous when it comes to trying new foods.
    • The new garden now includes two new garden beds and a new composter.
  • Fallsington Elementary School Partners With Local Farm: Pennsbury School District

    Description

    Fallsington Elementary School in Pennsbury School District partnered with a local farm to teach students lessons on nutrition and farming. Snipes Farm and Education Center has programs set up which both enter the school classroom and allow students to enter the farm and learn about farming. Two classroom-based lessons were provided (where members of the farm came to the school to teach the students) and there were corresponding taste-tests which accompanied the lessons. These lessons were given to each grade level and were tied to Pennsylvania academic standards. The students were also able to participate in the collection, cleaning, and donation of locally grown apples to the community soup kitchen. In the future it is planned to include classroom extensions to the farm which will allow for hands-on lessons in farming.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Brian Shaffer
    Contact Person’s Title: Principal
    Email: bshaffer@pennsbury.sd.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (215) 428-4170

    Category

    • Farm to School/School Gardens

    Objectives

    • To increase student knowledge of the nutritional value of foods
    • To promote life-long healthy food choices
    • To encourage the consumption of locally grown foods
    • To provide students with the opportunity to serve their community

    Advice

    • Look for farms that specialize in educational experiences for children.

    Evidence of Success

    • All grade levels benefited from two classroom-based lessons with corresponding taste-testing events.
    • Both teachers and students are looking forward to the expansion of our program during the upcoming school year.
  • Penn Hills School District Students Learn Native American Growing Technique

    Description

    Penn Hills High School formed “The Garden Tribe,” named in honor of the school's mascot, the Indians. The group consists of high school students, teachers, and school board and community members. Their goal is to learn more about the history of different cultures using gardening as a teaching tool, and about better nutrition via healthy eating.

    The Garden Tribe started by learning the basics of the Three Sisters Native American growing process. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of inter-planting corn, beans, and squash in the same mounds had been used by generations of native Americans to ensure a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided for long term soil fertility and a healthy diet for generations. Growing a Three Sisters garden was a great way for students to feel more connected to the history of the land, regardless of their ancestry. Many of the students who live in apartments, and did not have access to yards, learned square foot gardening.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Stefanie Raspotnik
    Contact Person’s Title: Professional Development and Funding Coordinator
    Email: sraspo@phsd.k.12.pa.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (412) 793-7000

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will learn the history of the Three Sisters Native American gardening and crops and how it relates to healthy eating.
    • Students will learn the process by which food goes from seed to table, including planning, planting, caring for, and harvesting garden crops.
    • Students will learn to have an appreciation of intergenerational collaboration.

    Advice

    • Provide a structured forum for the school community (students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members), along with community residents, to share their own rich history and culture of gardening experiences.
    • Plan and communicate a schedule identifying garden responsibilities including a lead person assigned to garden-specific activities throughout the school year and summer. The lead person needs to ensure all maintenance is performed, especially if volunteers are scarce during the summer break.
    • Promote special garden events well in advance to ensure strong school and community support.

    Evidence of Success

    • A school board member stated that the Penn Hills School District's Garden Project was “a community gem” which enabled the students to embrace the opportunity to work with staff and community members to learn the basic techniques of gardening and healthy eating.
    • The Garden Tribe is collaborating on efforts to start gardens at both the district's elementary schools.
  • Oley Valley School District Students Sample Farm Fresh Food

    Description

    Oley Valley School District wanted to expand the culinary horizons of their elementary school students with taste-tests of local, new, and different produce. In addition, the district wanted to increase student awareness of where their food actually came from. Oley Valley Elementary School scheduled three different taste-tests with their students during all lunch periods throughout the school year. Items chosen to sample included snap beans, raspberries, and black seedless grapes. In addition, tomatoes were grown in the cafeteria for the students to observe. Each afternoon the tomato plants were put outside the cafeteria door to get more light and were returned during the scheduled lunch times so that the students could follow their growth.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Barb Nissel
    Contact Person’s Title: Food Service Consultant
    Email: Barb@sosgroupinc.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (610) 761-5194

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • To expand the culinary horizons of elementary school students with taste-tests of local, new, and different produce
    • To increase student awareness of where food originates

    Advice

    • Good planning is essential.
    • Parental assistance is helpful if your cafeteria staff members do not have the time to circulate among the students in the cafeteria once they are finished serving.
    • It is important for all students to participate in the sampling, not just the students who purchase a lunch.
    • Communicate with the school nurse to ensure there are no problems with allergies.
    • Have signs that announce the taste-tests and the nutritional content of the items being sampled.

    Evidence of Success

    • The students were very excited about each sampling.
    • School and food service staff members have already inquired about samplings for the coming year.
  • North Allegheny School District Uses Economics Lesson to Teach Nutrition

    Description

    Family and Consumer Sciences students were given a choice: Should they purchase asparagus which had been shipped from California to their local grocery store, or should they purchase asparagus from a local orchard, given that they shared the same price ($3.99).

    They learned that the nutritional content of the asparagus was higher when it was harvested the day before as compared to a week earlier, as it had been for the California produced product. Next the economics teacher taught the students how their local economy was affected by keeping their money circulating locally as opposed to having it transferred out of state with little chance of returning. Finally, the students prepared a meal based on local ingredients. This was a “veggie-heavy” tortellini dish which consisted of two-thirds locally grown vegetables (tomatoes, garlic, basil, and asparagus). The exercise taught the students how to increase their vegetable consumption as well as the benefit of choosing locally grown produce. Students outside of the Family and Consumer Sciences program also were able to sample this meal, which was enjoyed by all and consumed in its entirety.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Rachel LaSatis
    Contact Person’s Title: Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher
    Email: rlasitis@northallegheny.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (724) 934-7233

    Category

    • Farm to School/School Gardens

    Objectives

    • To empower students to make healthy food choices
    • To educate students about the economic superiority of choosing locally produced food
    • To inspire students to share what they learn in the classroom with their friends and families

    Advice

    • Be sure to use the freshest ingredients possible.
    • Having the students prepare the meal themselves will result in greater enthusiasm for tasting the results.

    Evidence of Success

    • Many students have prepared this meal for their families on Mother's Day.
    • The students were enthusiastic about the project and there were no leftovers.
  • New Foundations Charter School Offers Students Limitless Possibilities

    Description

    New Foundations Charter School wanted to inspire students to experiment with their food and begin to see how many healthy possibilities there are in the world. Many young people in Philadelphia are living in food deserts. This limited access to healthy options can prevent them from preparing snacks and meals for themselves and trying new things. New Foundations wanted to inspire students to try new foods and see how easy and fun it can be to recreate them on their own.

    New Foundations sent students from the club HEAT (Healthy Eating Advocacy Team) on a field trip to a local farm and to a pizza place that focuses on local, organic, and healthy ingredients. Students toured the farm and were able to see large, fully functional hoop houses, a chicken coop, and goats. They also were able to plant several starters that were used for a CSA. Following the farm visit, they went to Pizza Brain, a local pizza shop that values healthy, local, and fresh ingredients. Students were able to select, bake, and enjoy a delicious pizza while witnessing the entire farm-to-table process. They were also able to see how their favorite foods, like pizza, can still be healthy when quality ingredients are used and care is taken.

    On their field trip, HEAT students were able to see farm-to-table in action and were inspired to share what they learned with their peers. After their field trip students implemented the skills and knowledge they gained to lead food demos and tastings in the school cafeteria. Each was led entirely by HEAT students and most of the recipes were picked by them. They prepared the recipes in the cafeteria with fresh and healthy ingredients. Recipes were made available for students to take home with them.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Shira Woolf-Cohen
    Contact Person’s Title: Principal
    Email: swoolf@nfcs.k12.pa.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (215) 624-8100

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • To spark a deeper interest in gardening and healthy eating in our students
    • To see a more active role from students involved with HEAT (Healthy Eating Advocacy Team)
    • To witness students eager to recreate healthy options at home

    Advice

    • While it can be difficult logistically to coordinate a field trip to a farm on the same day as a restaurant, it proved to be very helpful in making the farm to table connection for students.
    • It was important to coach students on how to narrate cooking steps.
    • Plan your menu as far ahead as possible and consider which produce is in season.
    • Have ingredient alternatives to show students. It will help to show students how creative cooking can be.

    Evidence of Success

    • HEAT attendance increased 100%.
    • Approximately 80% of students took a sample at each demo and more than 90% of them took the recipe home with them.
    • Four more students entering middle school have expressed interest in HEAT and will be joining in the fall.
    • HEAT students have shown interest in working in the New Foundations school garden.
  • Keystone Central School District Receive Nutrition Education

    Description

    In late winter selected students at Mill Hall Elementary School began conducting research about designated foods. These foods were divided into four categories: root vegetables, greens, herbs, and berries. Items included purple potatoes, fingerling potatoes, carrots, turnips, dandelion, romaine, arugula, kale, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The students developed presentations for their schoolmates. They also created posters that summarized nutritional information. These were displayed in the cafeteria. Prior to each event classroom teachers gave lessons about descriptive words to use when talking about flavors, textures, and aromas. In the spring the presentations were delivered to two grade levels at a time and were followed by a taste testing of each food. Every student in the school sampled all of the foods which were made available. The produce was purchased from a local farmer, Hidden Meadow Farm and items which were not in season were procured through a local grocery store.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Rebecca Gugino
    Contact Person’s Title: Enrichment Specialist
    Email: rgugino@kcsd.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (570) 726-3105

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will try a variety of produce.
    • Students will develop an understanding about how foods benefit them.
    • Students will take interest in discovering new foods and their health qualities.

    Advice

    • This project requires a lot of organization. Have some pre-project meetings and give faculty a chance to give input. They will have great ideas to make these events run smoothly.
    • Create a newsletter to go home during the events. Include information about the foods as well as ways to prepare them.

    Evidence of Success

    • Students were able to recall information from presentations and link them to new foods. For example antioxidants ("vitamin super-heroes" fighting "chemical bad guys") became a common word at our school.
    • Many students completed independent projects about foods they tried.
    • Parents requested preparation ideas for foods the students discovered that they liked.
    • Taste testing events were looked forward to by the school community.
  • Chester Upland School District Offers "Chef 2 School" Experiences and Family Luncheon

    Description

    Chester Upland School District devised a series of six events, spread out between February and May, which they called Chef 2 School Experiences. This involved hosting a Master Chef at the school who worked with the students to create a salad using ingredients with which most of the students were unfamiliar. The chef taught the students about the ingredients (what they offered nutritionally) as well as how best to choose, handle, and prepare the ingredients. Together they made a salad which was served, along with the normally scheduled items, at a Family Luncheon afterward, which the students, as well as their parents, were invited to attend. At the luncheon the chef also taught the parents how the salad was made and parents were given recipes as well as the produce needed (via a program called Family Food Distribution) to recreate the salad at home.

    In addition to the luncheon, parents were encouraged to visit classrooms to observe what their children were learning in school. This positive experience allowed the school the opportunity to share with parents ideas for healthy food as well as what it is their children are doing each day in school. Parents who attended had a much more positive view of the school's nutrition program than they did before attending a Family Luncheon.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Janet Baldwin
    Contact Person’s Title: Principal
    Email:
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (610) 306-0767

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Children will learn, from a Master Chef, how to prepare fruits and vegetables in non-traditional ways.
    • Children will learn, from a Master Chef, lessons on nutrition.
    • Children and their parents will have the opportunity to enjoy lunch together which feature the salad that the children and Master Chef has prepared.
    • Parents will be given recipes and ingredients to make the same salad at home.

    Advice

    • Have a series of luncheons and spread them out over the school year. Doing so will enable the message to be reinforced, parents will have the opportunity to visit during different times of the year, and there will be more opportunities to share positive nutritional ideas.
    • It is important to coordinate the event with the school's food service staff and with teachers who can plan complementary lessons.

    Evidence of Success

    • The participation rate was much higher than anticipated.
    • Parents stayed to visit the children's classrooms. They had positive comments regarding their child's school experience and photos taken record the fact that the parents enjoyed spending time with their children at school.
    • Recipes and ingredients were taken home by parents.
    • Parents, staff members, and students raved about how tasty the salads were, and how they were prepared in unexpected ways. Foods such as kale, spinach, dried cranberries, cabbage, and carrots were introduced in ways that would preserve their nutritional value and provide healthy options for children and their families.
  • Valley Grove School District Markets Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    Description

    Desiring a way to encourage students to choose fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their reimbursable school meal, Valley Grove School District devised a marketing plan. A different fruit or vegetable was featured each month on the school menu and that item was featured. A creative name, bold graphics, and various signs and locations were utilized to encourage students to choose the featured item.

    The item chosen (e.g. Bongo Blueberries) was attractively displayed in strategic locations such as the exits from the school line and near the cash register. This also allowed cashiers (in conjunction with prominent signage) to gently suggest the item to passing students. Presentation and color were carefully considered to create the most attractive display possible.

    Another tactic used was making fruit salads to encourage students to try an item with which they might not be familiar. For example, it is known that the students love grapes. Since they are an expensive, popular item they were mixed with other fresh fruits which were more affordable and less well known.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Jeremy Bergman
    Contact Person’s Title: Food Service Director
    Email: Jbergman@vgsd.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (814) 437-3759

    Category

    • Working Toward Meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge

    Objectives

    • To increase fresh fruits and vegetable consumption during the service of reimbursable school meals

    Advice

    • Relentless promotion will generate interest and buy in from the students. It was fun to watch the interest in the program grow.

    Evidence of Success

    • During the state audit the auditor commented on how excited the students were to see the fruit, and the large percentage of students who chose to take fresh fruit.
  • Northern York County School District Conducts Pumpkin Gleaning

    Description

    Northern High School's FFA students have a club called “FFA Harvest Club” which picks produce from the district's 22 garden beds as well as gleans produce from local farmer's fields. Gleaning is the process of harvesting the last bits of produce left over from a growing season.

    This produce is used in the schools for taste testing. Additionally, the FFA Harvest Crew conducts an annual Pumpkin Gleaning event. This involves buying pumpkins from a local farmer, selling them to elementary school students, and corresponding lessons for the students.

    Pumpkins are pre-sold to elementary school students via a take home order form. The students then go to the farm and pick their own pumpkins with the help of members of the FFA Harvest Club. The students get to tour the farm and learn about farming and pumpkins. In addition, there are more pumpkin related events at the schools which include cooking with the pumpkins (e.g. pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie) and floriculture designs.

    The farmers are paid by the FFA, which is then reimbursed by the elementary schools. The elementary schools keep the difference to fund their farm to school programs.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Carol Richwine
    Contact Person’s Title: Agricultural Education Teacher
    Email: crichwine@nycsd.k12.pa.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: 717-432-8691

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • To educate students about agriculture by utilizing farm tours
    • To support the local economy by procuring local produce
    • To raise funds for the Farm-to-School garden

    Advice

    • Be organized prepare lessons carefully.
    • Be sure to pay the farmer a fair market price.
    • Take along trash bags and hand sanitizer and ensure that the farm provides bathrooms which are suitable for elementary school students to use before and after lunch.
    • Do not have too many students in a learning station. Four students per station is a good number.
    • Organize the activity around the second week of October when people normally purchase their pumpkins for home.

    Evidence of Success

    • Over the course of two years over seven thousand pounds of produce have been gleaned.
    • Money is now available for seeds, gardening tools, and other supplies for elementary farm to school programs.
    • Over 300 students participated in teaching and learning agricultural literacy lessons, farm to fork experiences, and horticulture lessons.
    • Student-approved healthful recipes have made their way into high school cafeterias through this program.
  • Global Leadership Academy Charter School Promotes Farm-to-School with Food Day

    Description

    Global Leadership Academy developed three initiatives to increase healthy eating and living habits:

    1. Farm trips for all students in grades K-2,
    2. Expand the offering of the school garden and include nutritional education as part of the garden experience, and
    3. Host school-wide taste tests featuring foods from the school garden.

    Adult and youth wellness councils plan and execute activities which are vigorously promoted such that they are anticipated with lively enthusiasm by students and staff alike. One such event is a yearly fall Food Day in which the entire school community participates. The day starts with an Apple Crunch, wherein everybody stops what he or she is doing at noon and eats a locally grown Honeycrisp apple. In addition, nutritional education announcements are read over the intercom by the student youth council the media covers the event.

    Global Leadership Academy partnered with an urban farm located less than one mile from the school which donated eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and assorted lettuces. A partnership was also formed with a local chef who provided a live workshop for the school food service staff which learned how to prepare meals using these fresh foods.

    Students and teachers supported Food Day by paying to sample the food items, and enjoyed music, dancing, and presentations which celebrated Food Day. Money collected was donated to local food banks in support of fresh food access.

    With a minimal cash outlay and a dedicated team Global Leadership Academy has developed sustainable wellness programs that involve and excite the entire school community.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Jiana Murdic
    Contact Person’s Title: Director of Wellness Initiatives
    Email: jiana.murdic@gmail.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: 215-498-5520

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will gain a greater understanding of our local food system via local and school gardens.
    • The school community will experience locally grown foods.
    • The school will embed wellness activities and nutrition education with the academic curriculum.

    Advice

    • Identify the students, parents, and staff who will support health and wellness activities and recruit them
    • Generate buy in by assessing the interests of your council members and implement programs which are of interest to them.
    • Start small and don't become discouraged.
    • Be flexible and build on the momentum of your successes.
    • Identify and cultivate potential partners within your community.

    Evidence of Success

    • Comments from students, staff, and parents are consistently positive and people constantly inquire about upcoming wellness events.
    • The most recent events, including Apple Crunch, taste tests, and Food Day have been embraced by administrators and adopted into the future school calendar.
    • The school food service staff makes meals from scratch two days a week with plans to increase to five days a week in the near future.
    • Partners request ongoing opportunities to work together.
  • Greater Nanticoke Area School District Uses Garden Produce for Family Meals

    Description

    The Greater Nanticoke Area School District started planting seeds in its small greenhouse for use in the school garden. These seedlings were maintained and watered by elementary and high school students until they were ready to be planted.

    The district owns a tract of land adjacent to the high school which was originally used to farm vegetables. A 40 by 50 foot long section was used to grow vegetables and a raised bed was constructed to grow herbs. The maintenance department, several high school students, and the environmental science teacher worked together to prepare the area for tilling and the science department tested the soil and determined the proper fertilization needed.

    The garden consists of tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, herbs, cabbage, onions, and more. While school was in session during the Spring, several high school students and elementary students worked together to care for the garden by weeding and watering. Over the Summer watering was done by high school students working on their senior project, family center staff, family center volunteers, and the maintenance staff. They also helped to harvest the food that ripened over the Summer and Fall.

    The produce was taste tested by the administration staff and donated to the school's family center. They distributed the produce to families over the summer and early fall. This allowed them to serve nutritious meals at home.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Frank Grevera
    Contact Person’s Title: Director of Buildings and Grounds
    Email: pdw904@gmail.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (570) 735-2453

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will empirically learn the process by which food goes from seed to table.
    • Students will receive better nutrition than they have in the past.

    Advice

    • Start with the basics but don't underestimate the students’ knowledge or desire to learn about nutrition and working with their hands and with others.
    • Make a plan to maintain the garden over the summer. It's always a challenge to water and weed the garden when school is not in session.

    Evidence of Success

    • There was ample produce harvested which was supplied to needed families. This helped to provide proper nutrition to all the families involved. A diverse group of individuals worked together for a common purpose and the result was worth the effort.
  • Forbes Road Career and Technology Center Embraces Exotic Vegetables

    Description

    After growing traditional school garden items such as lettuce, peas, and peppers Forbes Road Career and Technology Center students expressed a desire to try vegetables with which they were unfamiliar. Surveys revealed that the students wanted to taste test items that they perceived to be exotic or unusual such as parsnips and kohlrabi.

    Landscape Design students constructed beds and Horticulture students planted seeds. After the vegetables were harvested Culinary Arts students created items for taste testing. Currently the school's food service department is working on incorporating the more popular items into the school menu.

    The project sparked enough interest that it is being expanded and an Advertising Design teacher is working on a campaign with the goal of involving the community and including them in taste tests.

    In addition, the school is working on developing an Agricultural Food Production class which will include the school garden.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Daniel Overdorff
    Contact Person’s Title: Horticulture Instructor
    Email: dano@forbesroad.com
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (412) 373-8100

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will sample a variety of unfamiliar vegetables.
    • The Landscape Design program will grow vegetables and fresh herbs in the Forbes Road greenhouse to be used in the Culinary Arts program.

    Advice

    • Gardens require constant maintenance even in the Summer, so plan accordingly.
    • Planning is also required to ensure that planting and harvesting go smoothly. Prepare a schedule of growing times.

    Evidence of Success

    • Planting and harvesting in the greenhouse is continuous and items are being sent to the Culinary Arts program at set intervals. Students have begun to purchase seeds on their own and have started gardening at home.
  • Northern Middle School Students Use Their Garden to Provide School Meals: Northern York County School District

    Description

    Northern Middle School in Northern York County wanted to introduce their students to the basics of food production and to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating. It was decided to utilize their greenhouse and have students research lettuces which could be effectively grown in this environment.

    Northern Middle School students planted colorful lettuces in their school's greenhouse and maintained the garden by watering, controlling pests, and harvesting the items. By continuously farming the greenhouse, even over the winter, the students were able to turn a crop in 40-50 days.

    Students then taste tested the greens and worked with the school food service staff to come up with menu items that were offered on the school lunch menu.

    In addition, these special, garden grown items were promoted by the students in the school via posters, morning announcements, etc.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Carol Richwine
    Contact Person’s Title: Horticulture Teacher/FFA Advisor
    Email: crichwine@nycsd.k12.pa.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (717) 432-8691

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will plant and harvest colorful greens which will be used for school meals.
    • Students will coordinate with the school food service director to establish when meals featuring the garden greens will be served.
    • Students will promote the special meals within the school.

    Advice

    • Choose the highest seed quality and a commercial organic soil mix.
    • Build some simple beds using 2x4 boards and plywood bottoms.
    • Be sure to plant varieties of greens which are suitable for greenhouse production.
    • Involve the students in seed selection, taste testing, and meal promotion.

    Evidence of Success

    • Salads often sell out which creates more of a demand.
  • Wickersham Elementary School Uses Garden Produce for Taste Tests and Education: Lancaster School District

    Description

    Wickersham Elementary School students learned the importance of eating healthy, locally grown food, and about seasonal vegetables which grow in their area. Master Gardeners came to the school in the Fall and gave the students lessons on gardening. The students started vegetables from seed and transferred them to the garden. Items included spinach, beans, and root vegetables. In addition, the teachers involved in the garden committee developed a newsletter that included fitness tips, healthy recipes, and gardening tips. The newsletter is shared with parents and students. Once the vegetables were harvested they were used in various recipes for taste-testing during the school day.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Joseph Torres
    Contact Person’s Title: Music Teacher/Garden Champion
    Email: josephtorres@lancaster.k12.pa.us
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (717) 291-6291

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will be engaged in a series of lessons about planting during the fall season.
    • Students will begin planting seeds indoors and transfer plants outside to the garden.
    • Teacher training will be conducted so that all staff and students are educated in the planting process.
    • Healthy snack recipes will be researched and product made available for taste testing.

    Advice

    • Have students research the most hardy seeds that will withstand a wet or dry Fall season.
    • Have students research healthy recipes and share their knowledge with their families.

    Evidence of Success

    • Students were able to use literacy, math, science, writing, and research skills which were integrated under the umbrella of Health and Wellness.
  • North Montco Technical Career Center Uses Garden Produce for School Meals and More

    Description

    North Montco Technical Career Center expanded its garden activities by having carpentry, horticulture, and culinary arts students work together to expand the school garden, implement taste testing, and develop new menu items that are sourced from the school garden.

    The carpentry students researched and built above ground planter boxes while the horticulture students planted, cultivated, and maintained the beds. Culinary arts students trimmed, harvested, and incorporated the vegetables and herbs and used them for taste tests and to prepare food for school meals from menus they also designed. Academic concepts specific to the school curriculum were integrated into the project.

    Once harvested the items were used for a series of five taste tests involving 15 students and eight members of the school staff. Items included spaghetti, roast chicken, pizza, meat loaf, and turkey dinner. The results proved that everyone could easily discern the superiority of garden-provided produce versus commercially-procured (and sometimes dried or processed) items.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Robert Lacivita
    Contact Person’s Title: Administrative Director
    Email: rlacitvit@nmtcc.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (215) 368-1177

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will taste-test fresh garden produce against commercially purchased items.
    • Students will incorporate garden items into school meals.
    • Students and staff will work together to increase school garden planting.

    Advice

    • Incorporate facets of the school curriculum into the project.
    • Having students from various disciplines work together will foster a team atmosphere which may allow students to discover a new level of autonomy and capability.

    Evidence of Success

    • The school garden was expanded with new raised bed planters.
    • Produce from the school garden is being incorporated into the school meal program.
  • Students Experience School Garden In Classroom Radio Park Elementary School: State College Area School District

    Description

    Radio Park Elementary School's school garden is over ten years old but is being continually updated to reflect changing teaching standards and objectives. Lessons about early America are brought to life with the Colonial America and Lewis and Clark plants. Students learn how early settlers first experienced food such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and squash and then brought these items to Europe and the rest of the world. They learn how early colonists lived and strategies they learned to survive.

    Students learn the benefits of choosing locally grown produce. They learn how important farming is to the Pennsylvania economy, how costly it is to transport produce great distances, and how locally grown items can be fresher and more nutritious than items which are developed primarily to withstand long distance transport.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Chip Clark
    Contact Person’s Title: Garden Parent Volunteer
    Email: henry.clark@comcast.net
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (410) 610-3777

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Integrate school garden into curriculum to enhance lessons.
    • Emphasize value of locally grown vegetables.

    Advice

    • Meet with each of your school's learning groups during the winter to understand the upcoming curriculum and integrate the garden into it.
    • Have elements in your school garden to keep interest high. Planting unusual vegetables, providing literature, and incorporating math, science, and foreign languages into the garden via colorful and informative posters will all help to generate interest.

    Evidence of Success

    • Teachers in all grades participate and use the garden to help teach lessons. Students are interested in the signs with “garden” in different languages. This starts conversations about different cultures in which students from diverse backgrounds participate.
  • Marple Newtown School District Features Local “Vegetable of the Month”

    Description

    Four elementary schools in the Marple Newtown School District featured a “Vegetable of the Month” which was grown, or could be grown, in Pennsylvania. Vegetables featured included sweet potatoes, cabbage, grape tomatoes, asparagus, kale, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts.

    Each month a vegetable was featured, a simple recipe was prepared, and fun facts were assembled which related to the vegetable. Then, a food service staff member went to each school and prepared the vegetable for taste testing. A one ounce serving was served to each student, and parent volunteers in the cafeteria who chose to participate. The staff member used encouraging remarks to inform the students of the benefits of the vegetable, monitor student response, and record feedback.

    Students who participated received stickers and the following month the featured vegetable could be found on the lunch menu. Information about the program was posted on the school website.

    Contact Information

    Contact Person: Eileen Bellew
    Contact Person’s Title: Director of Food Service
    Email: ebellew@mnsd.org
    Contact Person’s Phone Number: (610) 359-4275

    Category

    • Farm to School

    Objectives

    • Students will be able to sample new vegetables
    • Students will learn about Pennsylvania-grown produce

    Advice

    • Plan ahead and be flexible with your tasting days
    • Be sure to give stickers to participants. It increases participation and encourages a dialogue between students and parents after school.

    Evidence of Success

    • Participation was high and feedback from students, parents, and staff was positive
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