Classroom learning is an important part of a Farm to School program, especially when it comes to highlighting local foods served in school meals. Infusing Farm to School concepts in ongoing lessons and activities can promote food and agriculture literacy while fulfilling subject area requirements. Teachers, Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals, parents and community members may all be involved in various types of classroom learning.
Ideas and Resources
The following ideas and resources should help in implementing Farm to School classroom learning.
- Use lesson or activity plans to teach about the food and agriculture system. The USDA Farm to School and NY Agriculture in the Classroom websites Education list a wide variety of appropriate curricula and lessons.
- Introduce local, seasonal foods when teaching other subjects or lessons. For example, during a spring lesson about vegetables, focus on NY-grown kale or other greens. To learn more about seasonal availability of New York grown food, see the NYS Fruit and Vegetable Harvest Calendar by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and My(Northeast)Plate by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
- Promote local, seasonal foods through classroom taste tests and preparation activities. During the fall, you might have students taste and compare several varieties of NY apples, or prepare cabbage salad. A Guide to Taste Testing Local Food in Schools by VT FEED, and available to download from their website, provides guidance on how to conduct tasting activities.
- Conduct classroom activities to promote new cafeteria menu items that feature local foods. Students might taste new items and provide feedback to the food service director, or develop a school-wide marketing campaign to promote the items.
- Grow food in a community or school garden. There are many ways to link garden learning with regular subject areas.
- Organize a field trip to visit a farm, farmers’ market, or other venue as an exciting, tangible way to connect students with part of the local agriculture system. Learning from visits can support regular subject areas.