9 Ways to Celebrate Farm to School in the Classroom

9 Ways to Celebrate Farm to School in the Classroom
October is Farm to School Month, the perfect time to celebrate California’s rich agricultural heritage in your classroom! Here are nine fun ideas for incorporating agriculture and food literacy into your classroom.

Farm to School ideas to support nutrition lessons in the classroom

1. Make the Cafeteria Connection
A major center of food production occurs right down the hall from your classroom—in your cafeteria! Have students tour your school cafeteria or the central kitchen for the district. Your school foodservice staff can help your students learn where the food is sourced, what is made in-house and what it takes to make nutritionally-balanced meals for the many students they serve. Try these other ideas for activities to connect to the cafeteria.
 
2. Read All About It
There is nothing better than getting lost in a great story. Try these books that share agricultural and nutritional messages to help students value healthy eating.

3. Think Beyond the Garden
When thinking about local foods, it’s easy to concentrate on fruits and vegetables, but round out your discussions to include all five food groups. Did you know that milk goes from cow to cafeteria (or store) in about two days? Or that each year 5 billion pounds of rice is produced in California? Visit Dairy Council of California’s Farm to School page to learn more.

4. Teach Nutrition in Your Classroom
Integrate farm to school activities while teaching your nutrition lessons. Be sure to order your Student Workbooks and make the connection between healthy eating and local agriculture.

5. Bring the Farm to Your School
Invite a farmer from your local community to share his or her story with your class. With resources like California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom, you’re sure to find a way to bring the farm to your school.

6. Take a Farm Field Trip
Can you believe that many children throughout the state have never stepped foot on a working farm? Connecting with local foods—whether milk, nuts, vegetables or fruits—is a very important step in helping your students understand how food ends up on their plates. Contact your local farm bureau to learn more about the farms in your area that offer tours and activities for students.

7. Shop the Farmers Market
A large part of nutrition education is teaching students to choose the right foods at school, at home and on the go. By taking your students to a local farmers market, you can show them how to shop for fresh, local produce, plus they’ll learn about seasonal foods and meet some of the people who grow their food. If you cannot take your class to a farmers market, encourage students to go with their families and interview a local farmer about the growing process.

Find your local farmers market and see what foods are in season!

8. Hold a Taste Test
Provide (or ask students to provide for extra credit) a variety of foods purchased from local markets for a taste test. After the taste test, have students record what they liked or didn’t like, why and what the texture was like. This is a great way to include narrative writing to align with Common Core State Standards.

Visit the Harvest Hub Yolo Guidebook to find recipes for California crops.

9. Get Gardening
Fall is a wonderful time to switch out the produce grown in your school or community garden. If you don’t have a garden started, try a garden planters activity. Winter produce like broccoli, sweet potatoes and lettuce is perfect for getting your students excited about growing their own food. Try this list of winter produce to plant.