Seed to Table is an official Desert Marigold School (DMS) committee working toward very concrete goals. They have created detailed budgets for their garden and classroom kitchen, as well as recommendations for the curriculum and the garden placement. DMS is a Pre-K through 8th grade school currently, but they have purchased the 5 acres adjacent to the school that will be used for a high school, expanded garden and kitchen classroom. The fence has gone up around their one-acre garden area and they are currently working on the irrigation system. They have $16,150 in grant money, thanks to Metris Company, Slow Food and the DMS Board, to establish their garden, build a shed, purchase the necessary gardening equipment, and most importantly to hire a Garden Coordinator. It is Seed to Table’s hope that DMS will be used as a model for other Phoenix area schools to establish similar programs.
Food For Thought Ojai is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created by parents, farmers, health and educational professionals, and environmentalists to bring healthier, fresh food to school children, while raising awareness and support for local farms and the environment. As a grassroots, community-driven effort, Food For Thought Ojai works in partnership with the public school system to provide a program consisting of five, inter-related components: 1) in-class nutrition education, 2) garden-based learning, 3) solid waste management, 4) farm field trips, and 5) a weekly salad bar featuring fresh, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables. Healthy kids, community and environment are the objectives that guide every aspect of the Food For Thought Ojai program.
Steele Lane School is the site for two schools a regular elementary school that serves about 500 students and the Annex, which serves orthopedic and physically handicapped students ages 3-12 from all of Sonoma County. The Annex also has a Medical Therapy Unit, which provides physical/orthopedic therapy. Slow Food Russian River is partnered with a Rotary group on a school garden project which has built a series of raised planting beds that wheelchair-bound students could access. In addition to the food grown, there is an outdoor cooking kitchen area, a salad bar with with biodegradable plates and utensils, related arts and crafts activities, as well as teacher training. See this article in the Press Democrat for more information.
Over the past several years, Slow Food Roaring Fork has introduced a hands-on food curriculum into the 1st and 2nd grade classes at the local elementary school. The curriculum, which was designed by Katie Leonaitis and the SF volunteers, addresses regional food issues and history through hands on lessons that include cooking and tasting. Children plant regional foods in the new Magical Garden, on site at Aspen Elementary School.
During the winter, Slow Food Roaring Fork conducts Winter Workshops at Aspen Elementary School, from Kindergarten to 6th grade. Each grade level, 6 classes within each grade, has chosen a food. Activities are drawn up by Slow Food Members and teachers working together. For example. the 2nd graders explore corn through the following projects: making tortilla soup; grinding corn, both by hand and machine; making corn muffins with the ground corn; making corn husk dolls, and discussing pioneer children’s toys; sprouting corn kernels; examining different varieties of corn and their uses; and making a collage with the corn kernels.
The Cultiva! Youth Project is a partnership with Growing Gardens, an education program for young adults that teaches organic gardening and the skills needed to sell their produce to the public at the Boulder Farmers’ Market. Slow Food Boulder sponsors cooking lessons for Growing Gardens participants, named Cultiva!, to help increase youth knowledge about what they grow and how to prepare it. Each year, about 100 13-18 year old students participate in numerous activities including planting and harvesting produce at a youth operated organic garden, selling that produce at the local farmer’s market, and using that produce in monthly cooking classes taught by local chefs. Cooking class examples include “Cooking and Dining with the Senses” and “Know Your Ingredients and Their Basic Cooking Techniques”. Both Slow Boulder instructors and the Cultiva! kids have enjoyed the informal discussions at the table about food and cultural heritage.
Slow Food Denver is working with ten Denver public schools to integrate school gardens and taste education into the school curriculum. Each school’s program is unique, crafted to meet the needs of the students. Activities include creative theme gardens, children’s farmer’s markets, Taste Education workshops, Harvest Festivals, restructuring school lunch, and wellness classes. Partners in these efforts include the Denver Urban Gardens and numerous Community Gardens.
The Slow Food Vail Valley chapter worked with the head of the science department at Battle Mountain High School to create a new class called “Greenhouse Science.” The students study greenhouse growing techniques, plant propagation, aero & hydroponic growing techniques and grew many different herbs and vegetables. In addition, master gardeners also visit the class.
Regional Governor Julie Shaffer has led this project for three years at an area private Quaker elementary school. There is no cafeteria so each child brings his/her lunch to school everyday. Each class has their own raised bed where students plant, tend, and harvest low-maintenance vegetables such as salad greens. Teachers are actively involved. Activities include harvesting vegetables and making salads.
Modeled after The Edible Schoolyard program, Mala’ai: The Culinary Gardens of Waimea School focuses on integrating a large garden space into the school curriculum through place and project-based learning. Their primary goals are to provide middle school students experiential opportunities to grow, prepare and share healthy food, cultivate environmental awareness and stewardship of the land, increase adult mentoring and team building, and provide opportunities for hands-on learning. During the first 8-10 weeks of school, sixth grade classes and their teachers will come through the garden and experience tasting, garden-based learning, and curriculum that has to do with what they are learning in the classroom. Seventh grade science and core classes will also utilize the garden.
With the help of Slow Food Chicago, the Dawes School Edible Garden Project was launched in 2004. Six raised beds were constructed for an organic garden at the elementary school where students can plant, care for, harvest, prepare, and eat what they grow. Taste Education is now at the heart of the program. Using food the children harvest and clean, the class gathers around the table and while preparing a dish, describe the colors, the shape, the smells and finally the taste of the food.
Dawes Elementary School is a diverse mix of Latino, African American, Asian, Caucasian, and one Native American family. Their 367 students, ranging in age from five to ten year olds, come from middle and lower middle class families. The school principal, Karen Bradley, is the project’s strongest advocate for this project. She views their school gardens as a natural extension of the classroom, the opportunity to address healthy choices in eating, and as a unique program which is strengthening our school community.
Driven by the belief that nothing taught in schools cannot be taught in the garden, Slow Food Iowa’s School Garden Project, From the Ground, UP! Finished construction of a 4500 square foot organic school garden and outdoor classroom at the Elizabeth Tate High School in Iowa City this fall. They have constructed 12 raised beds, each 6’x12’, full of beautiful, rich and organic topsoil. Come March they will have seedlings going in the greenhouse and in April they will plant several fruit and nut bearing trees. The garden is intended to be integrated into the regular school curriculum. From the Ground, Up! is generously supported by Red Fern Farm, Seed Savers Exchange, and a dedicated crew of Slow Food Iowa members.
There are two projects currently being undertaken by Slow Food Aroostook County. The first project takes place at a small public school, Pre Kindergarten - 3rd grade. Slow Food Aroostook County originally approached the very dynamic first grade teacher, Nancy Wright, and asked to get involved. Nancy was already doing some food curriculum with her kids and had a greenhouse built. Slow Food and other volunteers and school members constructed 3 raised beds. For the remainder of the school year, each class spent science time planting seeds and transplants. The field was also tilled to make way for pumpkin patches.
The second project exists at a tiny public school, Pre Kindergarten - 6th grade. Slow Food Aroostook County helped build two small beds and currently oversees the project. Currently, students are only involved with the beds during recess time.
Wellness classes addressing nutrition, consumerism, etiquette, gardening/farming/food production, exercise, decision making, cooking and food preparation have been incorporated into class rotations at Beattie Elementary School. Construction of a large school garden is underway. Slow Food Nebraska, integral in planning, teaching, and creating the classes, hopes to expand the program to all of Lincoln’s public schools.
The first “Slow Food Greenhouse” in the region is being constructed at the Hayground School and Summer Camp in Bridgehampton, from a grant awarded by the East End chapter. The Greenhouse will be finished and ready for student use this spring. John Snow, a teacher at Hayground, believes that there is “no better way to teach cause and effect than with a garden.” At Hayground School, currently 65 students utilize the educational philosophy of John Dewey, learning by doing meaningful tasks.
The “Slow Food Greenhouse” is the 2nd in a series of ongoing local educational programs launched by the East End chapter to spark area youngster’s interest in the fun, tasty, and healthy habit of eating locally, seasonally, and by growing, harvesting and cooking your own food. The Slow Food Greenhouse enable Hayground School “to link garden to kitchen year round” and “to be a learning tool for year round science, art, math and even philosophy lessons” said Mr. Snow. “We see this school greenhouse and its educational uses as a model for the east end” said East End chapter Leader Mary Morgan. It is the second local Slow Food in the Schools Program, the first being a 2005-6 afterschool program called “Healthy Bodies Healthy Bays” developed in conjunction with the East Hampton Public School and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Mt Kisco Child Care Center and My Second Home is an intergenerational center housing two separate organizations that share a mindful mission to provide the community every opportunity to reconnect with each other, nature and it’s bounty. Slow Food and Mt. Kisco Child Care Center share the mission of good, clean and fair, the partnering was an easy match.
Children ages one to eleven participate in a year round farm to table curriculum. The Feed me Fresh program provides two hands on, sensorial experiences a week in the joys of gardening and cooking the harvest. The seasons inspire the activities that integrate literacy, mathematics, nature science and culture. Surrounding the Center are edible school yards for each Toddler, Preschool and Afterschool classroom. Closest to My Second Home is a green space for intergenerational and horticulture therapy programs. The food service at the Center serves breakfast, lunch and snack with mostly fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients. The site is the drop off for Roxbury and Winter Sun Farms CSA programs and additional produce is made available to the kitchen and families in need.
Afterschoolers have successfully run a famers market for five years on the front porch. Money from their harvest and added value products sustains the seed purchases for each growing season as well as an annual donation that has included Terre Madre in Hurricane Katrina relief, earthquake torn Kasmir, and donations made to both the Audubon and Heifer International. This year’s donation benefited an orphanage in Columbia serving children with A.I.D.S. whose daily activities include running their own organic farm. The Afterschoolers in the summer have the opportunity to see their organic gardening practices translated to a large, certified organic farm. Visiting the farm, they work and learn alongside a local farmer further enhancing their growing stewardship of our landscape.
Slow Food and Mount Kisco Child Care Center host free educational community dinners, participated in the national Children’s Nutritional Act campaign and partner with the Slow Food on campus chapter at the Culinary Institute of America. Through this partnership the journey from garden to table is adapted, accessible to all regardless of the challenges in life.
The Children’s Storefront is an independent, tuition-free school in East Harlem committed to providing a comprehensive education to children with varied academic strengths from preschool through 8th grade. Harvest Time in Harlem is teaching students to have an appreciation of wholesome foods through hands-on classes. Each lesson incorporates seasonality, taste, nutrition, cultural food traditions, cost efficiency, and instills a sense of their direct relationship to the land. The program provides students with the tools and resources to be able to make quality food choices in their neighborhoods and nearby stores. This year, Harvest Time has been focusing on the importance of family and food by inviting parents and guardians to participate in the program alongside their children.
In addition to working to increase awareness and interest with the Farm to School program, Slow Food Oklahoma City invited Ann Cooper - author of Lunch Lessons - who has revolutionized school lunches in Berkeley Public Schools to OKC and hosted a program, sponsored by Slow Food OKC, the Fit Kids Coalition (a local child advocacy group) and the University of Central Oklahoma’s School of Education. Legislators, educators and school nutritionists from all over Oklahoma’s Public Schools were invited to a luncheon and presentation about how to improve the school lunch program. The Farm-to-School Program coordinator made a presentation. There was an incredible response to the event. One local school Board president has taken the school lunch program as her cause and plans to revamp the program as a result of our SF-OKC event!
Slow Food Portland supports several local programs. Garden of Wonders at Abernethy Elementary School involves students in the stewardship of an organic garden, as well as providing a food-based education that is integrated with science, math, language, history, and art.
Growing Gardens Youth Grow serves children from families with limited income by providing hands-on gardening experience and education. Those participating in the programs can also receive three years of seeds and support for their own home garden.
Slow Food Portland also created their own program, Farmers in Schools, which brings farmers to local elementary schools to show students the seasonal foods of the North Willamette Valley, and the hands that grow them. The project is sustained through annual fundraising.
Cook Like A Chef! is a day camp designed to introduce boys and girls aged 11 to 13 to healthy cooking and eating habits that will set them on the path for their lifetime. Lessons are taught through hands on cooking and tasting, historical lectures and slide shows, and communal meals at the end of each lesson. The lessons will introduce the campers to a variety of fruits and vegetables, to the world of seasoning and spices, to basic cooking techniques and how to custom design their own recipes. The camp activities of cooking, tasting, and savoring foods will culminate with a reception that the campers will plan and execute for their families and invited guests using recipes that they created themselves. The program will be conducted in the Penn State department of nutritional sciences foods lab, in collaboration with the kinesiology department.
The Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh is designed to teach sustainable living principles, centered on a school garden and on-site kitchen. The program is intended to be integrated into the day-to-day life of students and used to compliment the current curriculum and enhance the learning process. Focusing on nutrition, health, exercise, and a general understanding of where food comes from, Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh will integrate arts, science, literacy, math, and gardening magic into their program.
The Slow Food Chattanooga chapter is working with Crabtree Farms, Creative Discovery Museum and other community partners to put a traveling workshop together for the school system, as well as to hire a coordinator to look at a broader Farm to School programs. They are also working with the School Garden at Normal Park Museum Magnet School where they teach a weekly elective “academy” for an hour cooking and tasting with 2-3rd grade students.
Slow Food Utah works with Riley Elementary School in Salt Lake City to provide taste education programs in both cooking and gardening. Currently, Slow Food Utah conducts cooking and tasting classes after-school with grades K through 6. A Schoolyard Garden consisting of 16 raised beds is under construction. Indoor grow labs are presently being used to grow lettuce and vegetables, and will be used to grow seedling starts for planting in the outdoor beds. Click here to see pictures.