Content provided by: Tiffani Ghere, Clinical Pediatric Dietitian
“Sustainability” is the result of practicing responsible food growth and/or production methods that create the potential for long-term maintenance. It’s the nurturing and shepherding our resources to ensure our continuing well-being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. One of the two approaches to sustainability is management of human consumption of resources; we can adjust our individual lifestyles to conserve natural resources.
THE SMALL FARM TO SCHOOL INITIATIVE
“The Small Farm/School Meals Initiative is an important step toward improving both the economic stability of small farmers and the long-term health of children in our school systems. The farmers are able to sell fresh produce to local schools for use in their meal programs, and children get the benefit of adding fresh fruit and vegetables to their diets. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
— Shirley Watkins
U.S. Department of Agriculture | Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
We can connect the growers of our local fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm product to the school meal program through our Sapphire Food Fare. For a step by step guide on how to bring small farms and local schools together visit: www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch or click here to download the PDF.
By planting and growing their own vegetables in gardens on campus, students can learn much about biology, botany, weather and the seasons, geology and the environment – and about the benefits of locally grown food. At the start of the school year, students select the garden plot their class will cultivate, and decide upon a unique theme. Every class will have a Garden Mom or Dad who volunteers to help. In the early fall, there is an organized garden clean-up where in
families of students can volunteer their time to weed and prepare the soil for planting.
The gardens are completely student driven, so the students alone decide what will be planted. A “Pizza Garden” can be planned to grow toppings, or a “Salsa Garden” can be created to grow delicious fresh salsa ingredients. Some plots can be free form and include a diverse range of plants and flowers or even fruit trees.
A goal can be to eventually move away from individual themes and instead have all the gardens evolve to grow together, to provide a bountiful supply of edible produce, including fruits and vegetables to be featured in student lunches.
We have experts to help you get started and advise you on the best way to start a garden at your school.