What is Farm-to-School?
Initiated in 2000, the National Farm to School Program is a nationwide movement that seeks to improve the quality and nutrition content of school meals, promote local farmers, support local food systems and teach kids where their food comes from. This nationwide trend has been supported by the Oregon legislature with the establishment of a Farm to School Program within the Oregon Department of Education and a Farm to School Program within the Department of Agriculture. The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, based in Lane County, has implemented Farm to School programs in Springfield Public Schools, Bethel School District, Eugene 4J District and the Crow Applegate Lorane District.
Farm to School in Springfield Public Schools
Springfield Public Schools has partnered with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, FOOD for Lane County’s Youth Farm and Emerald Fruit and Produce to implement a Farm to School Program in the district.
Farm to School educational activities are being implemented in Springfield Public Schools at Guy Lee Elementary. The goals of the program are to educate children about where their food comes from, how to grow their own food, and the value of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet. The program includes farm field trips to FOOD for Lane County’s Youth Farm, tasting tables in the cafeteria, a “harvest meal” in which students prepare a meal using produce they harvested at the farm, garden sessions at the Youth Farm and nutrition lessons. Through a family outreach program at Guylee Elementary we are also increasing families access to fresh, locally grown foods by offering field trips, supplemental food and resources.
Springfield Public Schools Nutrition Services has also implemented a Harvest of the Month program. Each month a different Oregon grown fruit or vegetable is highlighted and served in all Springfield School District cafeterias each week. The fruit or vegetable of the month is highlighted on a poster, on the district menu and on the nutrition services website.
For more information, visit the Harvest of the Month page on the Nutrition Services website.
School Garden Project of Lane County furthers our Farm to School influence by teaching children science and math in the garden and helping kids try new fruits and vegetables. School Garden Project is involved in 6 of our schools (Walterville Elementary, Thurston Elementary, Two Rivers-Dos Rios, Briggs Middle School, Elizabeth Page Elementary and Guy Lee Elementary) and we are happy to be partners with them in bringing garden education into the classroom and into our students lives.