Farm to You Fest a healthy success
Squash Hunger Drive collects 750 lbs of fresh produce
Early this October, the Bethlehem Healthy Kids Committee led a celebration of local farms and food that helped the community and the students.
A group of parents at each of our seven schools makes up the Healthy Kids Committee, which partnered with several community organizations for Farm to You Fest. The partnerships with Capital District Community Gardens, local farmers like Foxtail Community Farm from Greenville, Farmer John from Selkirk, and the Delmar Saturday Farmers Market helped carry out several components of the week-long event that recognize the importance that food plays in our communities, our schools and our health.
Below is a summary of the week's accomplishments:
•The Squash Hunger fresh food drive collected about 750 pounds of fresh produce for the hungry in our community. This innovative program, run by Capital District Community Gardens, helps students think about how everyone needs fresh foods to stay healthy. Students accustomed to the typical food pantry drive where boxes and cans fill bins in their school hallways, get a different experience from going to the farmers market or grocery store to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables to donate. It sends and important message that we all need farm fresh foods to keep healthy.
• The Farm Fresh Recipe Contest garnered more than 20 new student-inspired recipes using local, seasonal ingredients for our Childhood Nutrition Director to serve in school lunches, including Mexican Coleslaw, Classic Carrot Salad and Homemade Applesauce. We believe that when students are involved in deciding what they eat, they're more likely to try new foods and get excited about healthy changes in school lunches.
• The Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt, with almost 100 student participants, allowed the school and farm community to learn more about one another. Participating students won locally produced prizes donated by local farmers, such as fresh-baked breads and bags of apples, for answering questions about the farmers market and interviewing farmers. The interaction of students and food growers lets students know that thinking about our food is important and creates an awareness of who grows our foods.
• More than 15 farmer/gardener and fresh food-tasting classes were held at various schools throughout the district during this week. These guest teachers included local farmers, llama-herders, garden educators and district parents!
• The free family film night on Oct. 4 featured a viewing “What’s on Your Plate?”, a documentary narrated by two 11-year old New York City girls who want to learn about where their food comes from followed by a Q&A session with a panel of experts. The film was sponsored by the Capital District Community Gardens, the Bethlehem Healthy Kids Committee and the Delmar Farmers Market. About 200 members of the school community, including many students of all ages attended the event.
• In-school farming poster displays made by students, educational displays in the lobbies created by parents and Girl Scout troops, Farm and Food Facts read by principals over the PA system, all contributed to a learning environment focused on food that week.
• The daily school lunch menu created by BCSD’s School Nutrition Director featured local, seasonal foods sourced from local farms.
• New school vegetable gardens were used and celebrated during Farm to You Fest. At the Middle School, students held a Salad Day where lettuces and other fresh vegetables were harvested from the garden, washed and then served with homemade dressing during lunch to fellow students for free.
The district’s 3rd Annual Farm to You Fest was
part of a statewide event that involves many levels of activities,
both in the classroom and out in the community. Visit the
FarmtoSchool.org and come back to the Healthy Kids Committee
site for updates and new about next year’s event.