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Extension > Family Matters > Farm to School: Education and Outreach

Friday, March 16, 2012

Farm to School: Education and Outreach

By Stephanie Heim, Minnesota State Lead

Minnesota schools are doing some amazing things to engage their students and the community in farm to school activities. Below is just a sampling from schools across the state. If you have an educational or outreach activity that you’d like to share, please send an email to farmtoschool@umn.edu.

Pine Point School


Pine Point School students, in conjunction with the 21st century after-school program, are learning about local food systems. They have taken trips to visit a wild rice mill, apple orchard, and a heritage turkey farm, learning about where each of these foods comes from and talking with the growers. The fourth grade class spent a week focusing on mandaamin (corn). In the classroom, they wrote haiku poems and learned about seasonal food. Outside the classroom, they went to help harvest native Bear Island Flint corn and learn its significance for Ojibwe people. Students were later taught how to braid the corn to properly dry it for storage. In winter, Pine Point began traditional cooking classes with community members and decorated the school cafeteria with Ojibwe art and vocabulary. It is Pine Point’s hope that relocalizing our food system and reintroducing traditional foods will create not only healthier children, but a healthier community. Read about Pine Point's 2009 farm to school events: Pine Point 2009 Farm to School Brief Report (271 K PDF).

Ridgeway Community School


Ridgeway Community School created a poster to promote their farm to school efforts: Why We Choose Food from Farmers We Know (126 K PDF). Here are several outreach tips they use with their students, parents, and community:
  1. Conduct a morning meeting of student body to inform them of the local food being serving.
  2. Put an announcement in the school newsletter. For example, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Real Food (383 K PDF).
  3. On the monthly menu, make note of farm to school foods.
  4. Place a bulletin board in a prominent location with photos and captions.
  5. Use a display board for community events and conferences.
  6. At school programs, make note of your farm to school initiative to reach families and increase their awareness of your good work.
  7. Use radio and print media (agriculture, local papers) — they love to pick up farm to school stories.
  8. Prepare a presentation and update for the school board.
  9. Start informal conversations with anyone and everyone!

Wadena Deer Creek Elementary

As part of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Wadena Deer Creek Elementary invited Minnesota Grown Spokesperson and Minnesota Olympian Carrie Tollefson to connect with students about the benefits of eating locally grown fruits and vegetables and staying active. Learn more: Olympian runner inspires WDC students (274 K PDF).

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