By Carolyn Teragawa
The farm-to-school concept is coming full circle in the Davis school district, as broccoli and lettuce being grown at the Harper Junior High garden will be served in school lunches this winter.
The new project at Harper is under the direction of garden and recycling coordinator Carrie Juchau. For the first time, school garden programs will be reimbursed for the produce they provide to Student Nutrition Services for use in student lunches.
“The UC Davis plant sciences department helped us germinate the seedlings, and volunteers from UCD, Woodland Community College, Harper, Davis High and Montgomery Elementary helped plant 2,400 broccoli and 400 lettuce seedlings,” Juchau says. “The lettuce should be ready to harvest throughout the winter, and the first crop of broccoli should be ready in February.”
Davis Farm to School has set a goal to expand this project so that more schools can use their land to grow produce for school lunches and support their garden programs at the same time.
October is National Farm to School Month and Davis Farm to School volunteers have been out in the community and at local schools promoting events that help children connect with farms and fresh, healthy food.
The popular grain-to-bread activity engaged children in the process of turning wheat into pizza and was available at five different locations in Yolo County, including a final demonstration at the Hoes Down Festival.
The Taste Testers Program has colorful new trays and aprons. These volunteers offer tastes of fresh produce and made-from-scratch items to students as they line up for their school’s hot lunch buffet. Davis Farm to School will update the Taste Testers Program with the enthusiastic partnership of new student nutrition services director Dominic Machi, who recently spoke to Farm to School team leaders at their October meeting.
Throughout the year, Davis Farm to School supports the Davis school district to promote farm-to-school and waste reduction activities. Regional support of farm-to-school activities is growing; the Woodland, West Sacramento and Davis school districts all adopted resolutions to support National Farm to School Month.
For more information, visit www.davisfarmtoschool.org.