Farm to School Programs
In the Classroom
BFBLGLV launched its Farm to School programming in 2011 with its “CSA in the Classroom” presentation, designed for third and fourth grade students. That year, the organization hired the Kellyn Foundation, a local nonprofit outreach organization, to present the program to 35 third-grade classrooms in seven elementary schools in the Easton Area School District. During the presentation, nutritional value and seasonality of foods were discussed. Local farmers also visited, giving students the opportunity to sample an array of locally grown foods they may never have tasted before, including purple potatoes and kale and peach smoothies. This program also included a School to Farm component, which takes students out of the classroom and into the field.
Our Farm to School programming aimed to teach students the concepts and benefits of locally grown food at an early age, and encourage them to ask questions about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and who is growing it. From in-class lessons that allowed students to “meet the farmer” to cafeteria tasting tables featuring locally grown foods, our programs introduced students to a number of healthy, delicious, and unique fruits and vegetables that are available right in their own communities. BFBLGLV currently works to facilitate locally grown food purchasing by school districts and advocates Farm to Cafeteria concepts.
The Kellyn Foundation has since taken over this program, now serving 3rd-5th grade and operating programming and school gardens in 33 schools across the Valley. Kellyn engages each student on a journey for three consecutive years; expanding their awareness and enjoyment of fresh real food in third grade, understanding the nutritional labeling on packaged goods in fourth grade and finally, in fifth grade, how to survive eating out. If a school chooses to participate in their “Garden as a Classroom” program, the students experience the excitement and accomplishment of raising their own fresh vegetables. The programs are provided on a classroom by classroom basis, allowing opportunities for personal interaction and questions by each student, as well as offering curriculum opportunities for their teachers. Learn more about Kellyn’s School to Farm work and other great programming here!
In the Cafeteria
In the 2015-16 school year, BFBLGLV launched a pilot Harvest of the Month program at Easton’s Paxinosa Elementary School, which celebrated the diverse locally grown food options available throughout the four seasons. This program, supported by Easton Hospital and Chartwells Dining Services, allowed students to sample a new local or regional food item each month in the cafeteria. Samples have included a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, multiple varieties of apples, a roasted root vegetable medley, daikon and watermelon radishes, and a massaged kale salad.
In the School District
BFBLGLV continues to advocate local and regional purchasing by Lehigh Valley school districts and healthy options for area students. We also provide consulting services to farmers looking to sell to schools and other institutions. The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council also has a Farm to School working group. Please contact Sue Dalandan, Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.