Growing the Next Generation of Healthy Students
Growing the Next Generation of Healthy Students

How to make the farm-to-school movement come alive for your students

The farm-to-school movement has been a part of the California school system for decades. In fact, our Mobile Dairy Classroom began in the 1930s and is still in operation today. Making the connection for students between food literacy and where their food comes from is an essential part of nutrition education. And since California and farming go hand-in-hand, we are always looking for inspiring ways in which dedicated teachers bring together agriculture, the food cycle and healthy eating in the classroom.

Deedee Kruisheer is a 6th grade teacher from Montevideo Elementary School in Mission, Viejo, California and she is making the farm-to-school movement the center of her nutrition education unit this spring. “Outside of going through the Exercise Your Options program that Dairy Council provides for us, I try to incorporate different lessons on healthy eating: a knowledge base of what is in food, what it takes for food to get from farm to plate and trying different types of food in the classroom,” she noted. “My students really enjoy this unit of study.”

In terms of activities and engaging lesson plans that help students understand the food cycle, Kruisheer noted several ideas she’s currently incorporating:

Edible Gardening
Plant arugula and radishes in individual cups and have the students care for them. The vegetables are then harvested and prepared using the recipes provided from Dairy Council of California.

Reinforce Farm-to-School 
Read a book entitled "From Cow to Carton" to simplify the process and open a larger discussion about farm-to-plate and the food cycle.

Bring in Outside Sources
Find college students or experts who are well-versed in agriculture and would be willing to speak to the class in person or via Skype. This not only helps students understand things like where their food comes from, who grows it and how it’s prepared, but it also shows students that agriculture is a viable career field.

MyPlate Fun
The students collect food containers (5 each) and are asked to work cooperatively to try and make the healthiest plate possible with the containers. This gives them a hands-on lesson of reading food labels, doing the math and making healthy decisions.

Food Label Match
The students will research nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Then they are asked to play a matching game in which they will match the food label with the product itself.

Nutrition Pictionary
Students team up and pick a category (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals or fiber) and then take turns drawing the category and guessing the correct answer.

Looking for more information on cultivating the connection between agriculture and nutrition education?

Here are additional resources for the farm-to-school movement:

About Farm to School
Cafeteria Connections
Classroom Garden Activities
Mobile Dairy Classroom