October’s Farm to School Month Highlights
October was officially Farm to School Month here in Oregon, so naturally our garden team was busy! Denise and Kat spent time here in our Kansas Avenue Learning Garden, out in classrooms and school gardens, and even visited local farms! As you can see, they enjoyed some beautiful central Oregon autumn weather and made lots of friends (human and non-human!) along the way.
Here’s a recap of some of the fun things our garden educators and students got up to in the month of October!
At our Kansas Ave Learning Garden
Harvest Day! 4th graders from nearby Amity Creek Magnet School returned to the Learning Garden to harvest the potatoes, dried beans, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber they planted last spring through their weekly garden visits last spring. We do this every fall with the food that wasn’t eaten over the summer by Boys & Girls Club kids or donated to the Family Kitchen.
Soup Day! Back at school, Amity 4th graders worked in small groups to practice safe food prep skills processing their crops into a delicious soup that most kids had multiple servings of! Yum!
In their final fall visit, the 4th graders focused on soil health and giving back to the garden. To kick this off, they “planted” regular cotton and elastic underwear, an annual tradition and science project as part of the Soil Your Undies challenge. They made hypotheses of what they thought would happen, and In the spring, students will “harvest” to see what took place in the soil! They also planted garlic, did “chop and drop” to existing annual plants, and covered garden beds with leaves to cover and protect the soil.
First grade is such a fun time for garden education! Amity first graders explored the garden this fall observing things close up with loupes, looking for bugs and finding seeds. One day they got to watch a Lesser Goldfinch enjoying sunflower seeds right out of the plant. Then they found and got to share the last cucumber of the season.
In Redmond & Sisters
Four schools in Redmond joined the 1st annual Oregon Crunch for Farm to School Month! Our FoodCorps service member Adrienne had a blast with this last year with Lynch Elementary, so as a new statewide event we helped generate interest and made connections for Redmond Nutrition Services to purchase 275 pounds of local carrots from Boundless Farmstead. Next year we hope to support more schools and districts participating and promoting this event!
Then, the first Garden Educator Network meeting of the school year took place at MA Lynch Elementary School. Our FoodCorps Food Education Service Member Kat gave a tour of the garden, and Redmond teachers met the FoodCorps School Nutrition Service Member Somer and learned more of their upcoming role in the district. Then, we all got inspired by shared fall activities including sprouting old pumpkins and corn!
5th Graders from Kat’s class at MA Lynch took a field trip to Sisters to visit Seed to Table Farm! They harvested potatoes they planted in the spring, and also went home with carrots and spaghetti squash! Farm educator Hannah also set up a great scavenger hunt for students to explore the farm even more.
Get Involved in Garden Education
Educators, don’t forget! If you are interested in expanding or building garden education into your classroom, now’s the time to apply for funding for our Garden for Every School grant program. Applications can be found on our website (link below) and are due Nov 17th, 2023 for projects to be started in Spring 2024.
If applying for a school garden grant at this time seems daunting, but you’re interested in learning more about garden education, check out our Garden Educator Network (GEN)! Learn more and sign up for the GEN e-newsletters at the link below!