Tidbits: Farm-to-school and back

Paralleling the move to put more locally grown and produced food on our tables (both at home and in restaurants) is another movement to raise awareness among children about where their food comes from.

There are a lot of ways to do this. Certainly some schools are trying to improve the quality and freshness of foods served in the cafeteria. Locally this is happening in the Palisades school district in Upper Bucks County, and movement is being seen in other parts of the county too.

Newtown Elementary School held a fundraiser in April for an organic vegetable garden they (parents, teachers and kids) are installing at the school. Jackie Ricotta, a professor at Delaware Valley College and board member of the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, has been consulting with them about how to do it. Jackie specializes in sustainable farming techniques. Read more in the Bucks Local News’ article from April 23rd.

Wrightstown students are learning up close at Anchor Run Farm in a great farm-to-school program in partnership with the Snipes Farm Education Center in Morrisville. A four-session program is a joint effort between Snipes , Wrightstown Elementary School and PTO, Wrightstown Township’s Environmental Advisor Council, Anchor Run Farm, the Bucks County Food Alliance and the Sierra Club. Learn more about it in Jeff Werner’s article published last Saturday in the Bucks Local News. Educator Melanie Douty-Snipes of Snipes Farm & Nursery and Wrightstown Elementary teacher Liz Cirelli talk about what they like most about the program,

For me, as a teacher, it’s fun because we’re always learning together,” said Douty-Snipes “It’s an adventure. We’re learning about the world and life together. I’m hoping that my inspiration gets passed on to them so they are inspired to be farmers, to protect farmland and to support local farms when they get older.”

Third grade teacher Liz Cirelli said the Farm-to-School program fits in with classroom studies about plants and seeds. “This is tying it in from classroom to the community. This farm is allowing them to see what’s happening outside of the school building.”

“It’s amazing to see them learning,” said Cirelli. “It’s a working classroom. I don’t think the kids realized how much work it takes to get from seeds to plants to the kitchen table. When we go back to the classroom we’ll be talking about what we saw on the farm and connecting that to what we’re learning about seeds and bring them to plants.”

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