“October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections that are happening all over the country between schools and local food. In 2010, Congress approved a resolution to officially designate October as National Farm to School Month. The passage of House Resolution 1655 demonstrates the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.”

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I am really excited about National Farm to School Month! What a great time of year (and excuse) to incorporate fun gardening and cooking activities all month long!!! And remember to incorporate Food Day into your Farm to School plans too! What fun!

The National Farm to School Network “envisions a nation in which Farm to School programs are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems, ensuring the health of all school children, farms, the environment, economy and communities.”

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I think this is a great idea and love themes in the classroom as a way to incorporate concepts across curricula. “Celebrate a new theme each weekday of National Farm to School Month! The Theme of the Day will spotlight an aspect of farm to school and offer activities and resources related to that theme as well as messages to share on social media. Theme of the Day content will be created in collaboration with a variety of other organizations, so the perspectives will be diverse. The National Farm to School Network will promote each theme on Facebook and Twitter (@FarmtoSchool), so be sure to follow us and share your theme-related photos and stories. Both downloadable and interactive theme calendars will be available by September, so check farmtoschoolmonth.org for more information.”

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These students supplement their family’s food resources with their garden, fantastic! 

The National Farm to School Network recommends that teachers get involved by:

• “Plan nutrition education activities, such as Harvest of the Month, featuring a local food product that is in season.

• Connect instructional school gardens and garden- based learning activities to the curriculum.

• Use local foods as a healthy school fundraiser or a feature at a special event.

• Organize farm tours or trips to the local farmers’ market.

• Send information about Farm to School Month to parents.”

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It’s never too early to start harvesting and preparing foods together. These choppers make toddler cutting very safe.

And provides families and parents with ideas such as:

• “Visit your local farmers’ market. Buy something you’ve never tried before, cook it and share with your family and friends.

• Ask elders in the family for their favorite recipes featuring seasonal products grown in your region.

• Cook with seasonal products as much as possible. Find out what products are grown in your region and when. Most State Departments of Agriculture or Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters can provide you with a regional crop calendar.

• Volunteer at your local school to support a school garden or classroom educational activity.”

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These children are using seasonal vegetable stamps to decorate cloth place mats to use at their harvest feast

Ok so if you aren’t sold yet, here are some really great benefits to win you over!

Benefits of Farm to School

  • “Strengthen children’s and communities’ knowledge about, and attitudes toward, agriculture, food, nutrition and the environment.
  • Increase children’s participation in the school meals program and consumption of fruits and vegetables, thereby improving childhood nutrition, reducing hunger, and preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases.
  • Benefit school food budgets, after start-up, if planning and menu choices are made consistent with seasonal availability of fresh and minimally processed whole foods.
  • Support economic development across numerous sectors and promote job creation.
  • Increase market opportunities for farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors and food manufacturers.
  • Decrease the distance between producers and consumers, thus promoting food security while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and reliance on oil.”

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Here are the finished products. This is a simple activity to have a parent prepare and bring into class.

Share your Farm to School plans with us!! How do you incorporate farm and garden fresh foods into your classroom, school, and family?

 

Seeds to Sprout:

Sign-up for my American Montessori Society Webinar on October 22 and learn more about integrating gardens into your curriculum utilizing Nature-Study! You can get continuing ed hours…..

The official Farm to School Month website

The Farm to School Network

The Farm to PreSchool website with tons of resources including curricula!!

Farm to School Grants! Yahoo!

Check out last week’s Food Day post for ideas and more lesson plans revolving around farm fresh foods!

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