In October 2012, we asked Farm to School programs across the country to pledge to participate in Farm to School Month activities, then report back on their success. We are happy to announce that when all the carrots were counted and the parsnipswere parceled, at least 131,490 students participated in National Farm to School Month activities and schools used $101,011 worth of local food during October.
More than 200 programs pledged, and roughly 100 completed the follow-up reporting, which means the numbers above represent just a fraction of the Farm to School Month activities that took place across the country last month! Since we know that more than 12,000 schools participated in Farm to School during the 2011-2012 school year, the total numbers for Farm to School Month participation could easily be 10 or even 20 times higher. Just picture it: millions of kids with their hands in the dirt or eating their way to the core of a fresh, local apple!
There are so many ways to participate in Farm to School! Here are a few excerpts from the Farm to School Counts survey to give you a taste of what Farm to School Month looked like across the country:
- In North Anson, Maine, third-graders prepared pumpkin pies and applesauce with local pie pumpkins and apples. School gardens were cleaned and put to sleep for the winter.
- In North Powder, Oregon, kids pressed cider, milked goats, mulched the school garden and enjoyed a lunch featuring local beef and potatoes before finishing their day with a traditional Irish “rolling of the oat cake.” Students gathered around the principal, Mr. Hopkins, who rolled the oat cake so that it landed on the “X,” welcoming a harsh winter. The next morning students woke up to snow and, of course, blamed it on Mr.Hopkins!
- In Hancock, Michigan, fourth-graders participated in two classroom presentations, one by a nutritionist and the other by a chef and a farmer, who spoke about growing and preparing farm-fresh food. The classes finished up this unit with a field trip to a farm to taste fresh veggies. In addition, the entire school participated in a local squash tasting table at lunch.
- A FoodCorps service member in Iowa helped students decorate the school cafeteria with gourds from the school garden and created a large Farm to School mural. Several students also made posters.
Although the real winners were the 130,000+ kids reached by these activities and others like them across the country, three programs that participated in Farm to School Counts were also awarded $500 through a random drawing thanks to our partner, Beef Checkoff:
- Chugiak High School in Alaska
- Hand-in-Hand Learning Center at the Colusa Indian Community in California
- Jefferson Elementary in Shawnee, Oklahoma
Special thanks to our Farm to School Counts sponsor: