Farm to School


FoodCorps2Earlier this month we highlighted  Annabel Raby and Amanda Chin, FoodCorps Service Members in BPS working with City Sprouts.  For our final National Farm to School Month post, we are highlighting two more amazing FoodCorps Service Members working with Boston Public Schools: Harry Meltzer and Christine Randall.

Harry is working with the Boston Green Academy located in the in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, to bring food into the curriculum throughout content-areas, helping students connect to food through science, mathematics, humanities, social justice, and personal experience. Harry is also helping to build a new garden and set up indoor gardening in classrooms to help our students and staff immerse themselves in the excitement of fresh, healthy food!

In the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Christine is working with The Food Project, leading four weekly 3rd grade classes about food, plant science, and cooking at John Winthrop Elementary School and Samuel W. Mason Elementary School. Christine also assists with organizing and running workdays for Root Crew members at The Food Project. Root Crew is a yearlong, capstone experience in which high school students, from the city and suburbs, develop skills in urban farming, teaching, and facilitating to promote food system change.

Our community partners are bringing farm to school lessons alive in the classroom and in school gardens for BPS students across the district!

Check out USDA’s video “Healthy Habits Take Root – Engaging the Community in Farm to School Efforts” to learn about how other districts are partnering with their communities to support farm to school:

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FoodDayBestPizzaSlice2014

This Friday, October 24, 2014 is Food Day!  In celebration of Food Day, we are featuring a VEGGIE SPECIAL PIZZA on the menu in all of our cafeteria schools.  During our annual back to school training at the end of August, we hosted the first ever BPS Best Pizza Slice Competition in partnership with the Schwann’s Food Company (manufacturer of Big Daddy’s Pizza).

Our cafeteria managers worked in teams to develop a new pizza topping recipe for the menu and presented their best ideas to a panel of 9 judges.   Although all of the pizzas were delicious and beautifully presented, the pizza that stood out above the rest was the VEGGIE SPECIAL PIZZA inspired by Ellen Eddy from Harvard-Kent K-8 School, Jay Manoli from Lila Frederick Middle School, Heidi Rivera from the Henderson Inclusion Elementary School, and Miriam Soriano from English High School.

Here are some photos of our managers during the the Best Pizza Slice Competition:

BestPizzaSliceComp_Collage

The original recipe was slightly modified  to incorporate a fresh, LOCALLY GROWN vegetable medley of butternut squash, rutabaga and carrots in place of a frozen vegetable medley.  In addition to the locally grown vegetable medley this VEGGIE SPECIAL PIZZA also includes kale, broccoli, peas, cherry tomatoes, and green peppers.

Hope you get in line THIS FRIDAY to try the VEGGIE SPECIAL PIZZA to celebrate Food Day and National Farm to School Month.

 

How are other districts serving up their local harvest?  Check out USDA’s latest video about Healthy Habits Taking Root: Going Local.

FoodCorps_CitySprouts_SY15

Boston Public Schools (BPS) has wonderful partners that help support farm to school and school garden efforts in our schools.  This week we are highlighting CitySprouts and FoodCorps as one our BPS Farm to School partners that’s making an impact in our schools.  Annabel Raby and Amanda Chin are FoodCorps Service Members with City Sprouts working with Orchard Gardens K-8 School, Mather Elementary School and Higginson-Lewis K-8 School this year.

Amanda is managing the Food Pantry at Orchard Gardens K-8 School once a month serving 200 families who live in surrounding neighborhoods. She is also leading a CitySprouts after school program at the Orchard Gardens K-8 School in collaboration with Citizens Schools that will use food justice issues and the local food system as a topics developing communication skills with a class of 7th graders.

Annabel is leading Team Grow, CitySprouts after school program in Boston, at the Mather Elementary School (with 4th and 5th graders) and at the Higginson-Lewis School (with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders).  These students will be examining the interdependence of the garden’s ecosystem and learning how to support each other through growing, harvesting, and cooking food from the garden.

Amanda and Annabel are supporting food education and distribution in our schools and we are thankful for the impact that they will have on our students at Orchard Garden Pilot School, Mather Elementary School and Higginson-Lewis K-8 School this year!

Also check out how Farm to School efforts across the country are impacting students in a healthy way:

 

Wondering what’s locally grown in Boston Public Schools meals? Check out the locally grown carrot coins that are on the menu this Thursday!

OCTNatFarm2SchoolMonth

September 29-October 3, 2014 is MA Harvest for Students Week and the start of National Farm to School Month!

On October 2, 2014, Boston Public Schools is featuring locally grown corn for Local Lunch Thursday.  Also look out for other locally grown items available at the East Boston High Salad Bar that is re-opening this week as well!

Deborah Kane, National Director of the USDA Farm to School Program is launching a series of videos each week to celebrate National Farm to School Month.  Check out the first video here:

Check back here each week to learn something new about Farm to School in the month of October!

FNS_CityGrowers_theMOVEAs summer winds down, BPS Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) staff is gearing up for the start of school on Thursday September 4th, 2014. We’ve spent the last week hosting various training and professional development opportunities for our cafeteria staff as they prepare their kitchens for another year of healthy, tasty school meals.

thMOVE_BPS_FFG_CGThis year, members of our FNS management team also spent a day out in the fields (literally!) reconnecting with our own stories of growing and eating healthy, sustainable foods. Through a partnership with theMOVE, a local non-profit that takes BPS students on reflective farm volunteer trips, our team alongside trainees from the Urban Farming Institute of Boston, helped harvest lettuce, stake tomatoes and weed squash beds at City Growers right off of Blue Hill Ave in Dorchester, MA.

Our staff also had the opportunity to hear from Cassandria Campbell, a BPS graduate and co-founder of Fresh Food Generation,  and taste a delicious spread of locally grown vegetables, jerk chicken, and rice and beans prepared by the new food truck and catering business aimed at improving access to healthy, affordable, foods in low-income neighborhoods here in Boston. It is days like these help our team to refocus, re-energize and remember why we do the work that we do to bring Boston’s students healthy and delicious meals each day.

Here’s an inspiring Ted Talk by Jarret J. Krosoczka author and illustrator of the Super Hero Lunch Lady graphic novels to remind us all of the important role that our staff plays in feeding and shaping our students each day.

Here’s to a great start to the 2014-2015 school year!

 

 

USDA’s Farm to School Implementation Grant helped to support this farm volunteer opportunity with theMOVE, City Growers and Fresh Food Generation.

NECNMissionHillFarmSchool

New England Channel News (NECN) Making the Grade report recently highlighted the unique partnership between the Mission Hill School and The Farm School in Athol, MA.  The Farm School is an educational non-profit that has been teaching students and adults about sustainability and farming for 25 years. Since 1997, the Mission Hill School has been partnering with The Farm School to bring students out to the farm each year for some hands on learning.  Check out the video on NECN.com!

MissionHill_FarmSchool_CarrotSoupCollageLast Friday, Chef Cristina Garcia from The Farm School brought a farm fresh carrot soup for the students to sample at the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain.

The Farm School, a nonprofit educational farming program, located in Athol, has been a central part of a child’s Mission Hill School education since the school’s inception in 1997. Each year, all children, from our youngest to oldest, visit the farm. Visits grow as children grow: younger children visit for a day while children in the 5th grade and older go for three days and two nights each year. While there, children help with the everyday work of the farm including planting, harvesting, cooking, and cleaning. Some of the most favorite moments have included cooking, milking cows, collecting eggs, making maple sugar, and learning how to care for animals and care for the land.

The Mission Hill students and staff loved the carrot soup and some even came back three times for more! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try making it at home:

The Farm School Carrot Soup
Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cups Yellow onions, chopped (2 medium)
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced (4 cloves)
5 cups Carrots, diced (2 lbs)
3 cups Potatoes, diced (3/4 lbs)
3 cups Turnips, diced (3/4 lbs)
5 tsp Cumin, ground
2 tsp Salt (to taste)
10 cups Water
4 tsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Honey
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Pepper (to taste)

Directions:
1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onions, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
4. Stir in carrots, potatoes, turnips, cumin, salt and water.
5. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
6. Puree soup with an immersion blender. Or carefully blend in small batches in a regular blender.
7. Pour soup back into large pot. Whisk in lime juice, honey and heavy cream.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, crema, toasted pepitas.

Also a special thank you to Cafeteria Manager Chris Whitley and his staff in the kitchen, and the Margarita Muniz High School students who helped hand out samples in the cafeteria!

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