Local Educators Kick off Farm to School Initiative
Educators in Duluth Kick Off Farm to School Program
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“Carrots, squash, beans, potatoes,” Lincoln Park Middle School student Abby Longnaker said.
The veggies listed off by Longnaker were planted and cared for by her and other Lincoln Park Middle School students this summer.
“I would encourage other people to grow gardens and do things like this at either home, school, work, any place that they can,” said Longnaker.
The harvest along with other upcoming practices are part of a $100,000 United States Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant.
“Programs like this, our school gardens, the field to fork and our farm to school initiatives are so very important,” Duluth Public Schools superintendent Bill Gronseth said.
The Duluth and Lake Superior School Districts along with the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center will use the funds to help them gain better access to healthier and area grown foods.
“We’re looking forward to a really great year and we’re looking forward to using more local produce,” Duluth Public Schools child nutrition supervisor Pam Bowe said.
Initiatives will include implementing more food based hands on learning.
Which will focus on healthy living, nutrition and taste tests through science, arts and social studies classes and experiments.
“And if you’re planting it, you’re gonna wanna eat it,” said Longnaker.
“It makes it easier, it makes it fun because you think I grew this, I’m eating something that I grew,” Lincoln Park Middle School student Ariana Ferguson said.
Scholars will take field trips to learn more about sustainable agriculture and work with local farmers.
“Learning about where their food comes from, but also the energy required and interactivity of local systems,” said Renee Willemsen, Healthy Northland Farm to School education coordinator and project manager.
Other activities will include building and installing produce rinsing stations and implementing more foods from local farms and school gardens into their menu.
“We’re gonna have Arlene Coco, the lead chef do some in service training for our staff,” said Bowe. “So we can learn to use the local foods and make and even improve upon the presentations that we do in the cafeteria.”
The work will continue through November 2016.
The project will impact more than 5,000 students.