A Week of Ideas to Engage with National Farm to School Month!

Freshly harvested red and purple potatoes from Sakari Farm

October is National Farm to School Month, and the theme for this years’ campaign, from the National Farm to School Network, is Our Food, Our Future.

Our Food, Our Future:
Youth Leadership for a Racially Just Food System

Youth and young people are the leaders and change makers of tomorrow and today. As National Farm to School Network continues our work of shifting power to cultivate a racially just food system, we strive to elevate and amplify the visions, stories, and dreams of the young people who are at the heart of why we do farm to school. Their fresh perspectives, clear-eyed optimism, and commitments to justice must be heard and celebrated. We want to know: what are their hopes and ideas for the future of our food system? What does food justice mean to them? And how can we support their leadership in moving these visions into reality? Our 2021 National Farm to School Month campaign theme of “Our Food, Our Future” and associated messaging and activities will center on amplifying youth leadership around six community values – economic and environmental justice, health, racial equity, workers’ rights, and animal welfare – for a racially just food system.

Whether you are a parent, teacher or informal educator, we’ve got a week’s worth of ideas to help the young people in your life engage in local food this month – in the garden, the cafeteria, the classroom or at home.

Monday October 11th
Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day

As the original stewards of our lands and first foods, Indigenous People’s Day is an opportunity to connect youth to the history of Oregon and our country that is often left out of traditional education, as well as learn about contemporary indigenous leaders and cultural celebrations. Here is one in person event, and 3 comprehensive resources to get you started:

  • Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives in the Classroom,  4-5 pm, Wille Hall, COCC Campus. This is part of a day of discussions and events, including a virtual discussion about land acknowledgements, and an evening film.

    Whether we know it or not, chances are if we are educators (of any form), we either have Indigenous students in our classrooms and/or touch on themes that directly impact Indigenous peoples. In this interactive workshop, explore concrete ideas for a more intentional and accurate teaching of Native affairs and how to bring Native American perspectives into the classroom. We will also discuss manifestations of racism that Native American students often encounter in educational settings and how to better support these students. 

  • Tribal History, Shared History: Oregon’s Senate Bill 13 directs ODE, in partnership with the state’s 9 recognized tribes, to include K-12 Native American curriculum that is historically accurate, culturally embedded, place-based, contemporary, and developmentally appropriate. 4th grade is comprehensive, covering lessons in Math, Health, ELA, Science and Social Sciences. One 5th grade lesson is available, on Food, Energy & Seasonal Rounds. 8th Grade lesson plans get more developmentally appropriate, covering Cultural Appropriation, Importance of Treaties and Cultural Assimilation and Boarding Schools. 10th Grade Lesson Plans include Indigenous People’s Day as Act of Sovereignty, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Land Management and Environmental Sustainability. (If the youth in your life don’t fit these age categories, visit them for yourself to get the education you probably didn’t get when you were in school).
  • Since Time Immemorial: Washington State’s required curriculum has lots of lessons and resources relevant to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, including 3 K-3 learning pathways.
  • Confluence Project – Listen to a podcast on your own, watch videos with your students, or get connected with virtual classroom visits from indigenous leaders. I’ve really enjoyed the podcast conversations in particular. (Note: the Confluence in the Classroom is booked out for this school year, but get it on your radar for the future.)

Tuesday October 12th:
Take A Virtual Farm Field Trip to Local Tribal Education and Production Farm, Sakari Farms

Join Spring Alaska Shreiner as she takes you on a tour of Sakari Farm, a tribal food education and production farm in Tumalo. We have a Virtual Farm Field Trip playlist of short videos we produced with her last school year when all of our planned in person field trips had to go virtual.

For those in the Bend-La Pine School District, in May we planted potatoes that we harvested and delivered to Nutrition Services to use in their Farm to School Chicken Pot Pie served on Thursday 10/14…watch it ahead of time to get students excited about this meal and to involve students who usually bring lunch from home. Remember, all students get free school meals again this school year.

Wednesday October 13th:
Soil Health for School Gardens Workshop

We hope you’re planning on attending! We’re getting really excited about creating this Soil Health workshop for Central Oregon educators and all the great goodies they get to take home after, like pollinator plants, cover crop seeds, resources, ideas for engaging students and $$$ to buy soil amendments for their school gardens! If you can’t make this event, perhaps you are available to sign up for Confluence’s Rethinking How to Teach About the First Thanksgiving which takes places virtually during the same time frame. (There is also a 2nd date, on October 20th from 4-6pm– I hope to see you there).

Thursday October 14th:
Farm to School Lunch, and Learn, with Sakari Farms

Bend-La Pine students and staff have an easy chance to enjoy a Farm to School lunch on Thursday October 14th. Locally grown potatoes from Sakari Farms will be incorporated into their made from scratch and delicious chicken pot pie. As a teacher or parent, this is an opportunity to talk about local foods, to celebrate the school made meals that many students eat everyday, and to encourage those students (and families) that never eat school lunch to leave their lunch bags home that day. As a teacher you can model that by buying lunch for yourself and eating alongside them for one day, while watching the quick video of potatoes being harvested and turned into lunch!

For those that aren’t in the classroom (or register and watch later) you can also tune in to learn from Spring from Sakari Farms and FAO North America for a webinar on Honoring Indigenous People’s Food Heritage.

Join FAO North America in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and World Food Day 2021 to learn from Indigenous Chefs and Producers of Turtle Island (North America). Engage with Indigenous chefs, producers and international experts on the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ food systems and cuisine in the kitchen, production, policy, schools and community.

Friday October 15th:
Get out in Your School Garden!

Tour school gardens across the country on a Virtual School Garden Tour (28 min) or check out one of these seven short individual videos and activities to do with your students. Then get out in the garden and try one of the activities, investigate the health of your soil, plant native plants, spread cover crop seeds, or harvest sunflower seeds for planting next year!