CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Five Charleston County School District (CCSD) schools will participate in Farm to School programs, thanks to a $100,000 grant provided by the US Department of Agriculture (USADA).
The schools include Chicora Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, Sanders-Clyde Elementary, Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood, and Meeting Street Elementary at Burns. The schools will partner with local organizations such as The Green Hearth Project, Fresh Future Farm, and Growfood Carolina.
Students will participate in “a comprehensive program that includes school gardens, farm, field trips, local food procurement, and agricultural education efforts.” The grant will fund five key areas of activity:
- School garden education, including hands on lessons in agriculture from planting, to harvesting, to cooking.
- Farm field trips to show students where their food is being sourced.
- History, Culture, and Farming Field Day, an event put on by Fresh Future Farm and the Slave Dwelling Project, ” a non profit organization promoting a truthful and inclusive narrative of American history.”
- Harvest Dinner, where students will invite their families to “a celebratory and community-building event highlight the faces of the local Farm to School movement.”
- Farm to Cafeteria, a program geared towards introducing students to healthy foods in a familiar environment.
Jesse Blom, Executive Director of The Green Heart Project, explained that “students are more likely to try healthy food when they have the opportunity to grow and cook it themselves, which makes them more likely to maintain health diets as they grow older.” This highlights the need to incorporate such programs into school while children are at an early age.
Schools participating in the program are all Title I schools, where “many students and their families…face a combination of educational, economic, and health challenges, making the need for investment in children’s health both important and urgent.”
CCSD’s Executive Director of Nutrition Services, Walter Campbell, believes that this program will have a holistic and positive impact:
“While they are in the garden, they are learning math skills (by measuring and weighing), they are improving their reading skills (by exploring books on how food grows), [and] they are learning life and communication skills by working hand and hand with their peers.”