Our vision is to encourage all schools to have seasonal school gardens and school garden curriculum to provide garden-based learning experiences for students. We want to expose children to fresh seasonal vegetables, and encourage them to make better nutritional decisions improving overall health and education.
Although we believe in setting a foundation through the basic understanding of school gardening, we understand that is only a starting point. It is imperative to integrate school garden programs with local farms and provide better nutritional food for students. By encouraging interaction between local farmers and schools, children can understand more of where their food comes from while farmers reduce their carbon footprint by delivering locally.
We also believe it is essential to reform the nutritional standards by which school meals are served. Children will preform better in school if they are served the right kinds of nutritional food in a way that appeals to them. We want to encourage programs that are working on school meal reform throughout the country to use eachother, along with local farms and school gardens to form the ideal vision of nutrition and education.
I’m a huge advocate of sheet mulching everywhere from my backyard to school gardens. Lasagna gardening, or sheet mulching, is the act of adding materials layer by layer to increase organic matter. Materials I would recommend layering are newspaper (no wax paper or images), cardboard, aged and turned manure or compost, and straw. After every layer, make sure to water thoroughly.
Over a short matter of time, if properly built and maintained, you’re layers will turn into healthy, fertile soil. Benefits of sheet mulching include: weed surpression, soil preservation, non-till soil preparation, and much more.
This past week at a school garden in town we sheet mulched a garden bed.
It’s summer time and summer time means yummy veggies straight from the garden! There is little I love more than to harvest fresh, savory produce and make refreshing summer snacks and meals. This summer, on June 9th, at Chatfield Botanic Gardens, we are offering a class to teach kids that veggies are their favorite food and will be for a lifetime!
Together we will explore how to make the most common vegetables tasty and exciting for the whole family while learning to cook together. On the menu we have a sweet and savory vegetable stir-fry, a satisfying smoothie, a choice chef’s salad and delicious snacks. During our time together, we’ll visit an active demonstration beehive and see honey in the making. We’ll then learn ways to add it to some of our favorite dishes and snacks. As the class comes to an end we’ll plant a few vegetables of our own so each child has something special to take home! We invite you to bring your children and share the experience of eating healthy and colorful produce fresh from the Chatfield CSA. We can’t wait to have a rainbow on our plate to share with you!
The Hall County school system, in Georgia, is bringing local food into local schools, thankfully with help from a grant given by the state Department of Agriculture and Department of Education.
75 to 100 percent Georgia-grown meals will be in school lunches one week next spring because of the The Feed My Schoolfor a Week grant. Hall County’s Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy was chosen for a pilot program, along with a school in both Bleckley and Colquitt counties.
The goal of this project is to try it for a week and see how it can be multiplied to serve schools for up to 36 weeks.
The grant is part of Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black’s farm-to-school campaign.
“This is a great leap forward to help show young Georgians where the food they eat is grown,” Black said in a news release. “Through this program, students will learn about the processes taken to bring their school meals from a local Georgia farm to the cafeteria table while simultaneously receiving a healthy, delicious meal.”
Cookie Palmer, Hall County Schools’ nutrition program director says,
“The reality of food is that it doesn’t grow in a store, it grows from a farm. That’s the connection we’re all trying to make.”
Although Georgia is a great pilot state because they rank fourth in fruit and vegetable production in the U.S., there is hope for the rest of the United States. In conjunction with education about local agriculture, small business practices and nutritional education children will learn most importantly where their food comes from.
Over the last few years many believe that Congress has been on board with improving school lunches. Just this past year President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act followed by the announcement of new dietary guidelines earlier this fall. Until just recently there was a glimmer of hope, an idea that if enough people voiced their thoughts that these thoughts would become actions, and changes would happen but some can argue that lobbyist stepped in the way. Yesterday, November 17th, 2011 The House of Representatives passed a bill that secures frozen foods like french fries and pizza to remain an integral part of school meals. These meals are considered vegetables and an important part of a child’s diet.
Food Day 2011 is happening at the Denver Botanic Gardens October 24th! Food Day is a nationwide celebration promoting delicious, healthy and affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.
More and more schools are becoming involved in school meal reform and are learning the importance a well balanced diet has on school performance. During Food Day we will be teaching healthy affordable cooking methods, harvesting vegetables, sampling fresh vegetables from the garden and learning where our food comes from. Take part in your area and get involved with national Food Day!