Written by: NorthWest Initiative
The Food Systems Project offers four summer camps free to the school communities each and every summer. Camp duration is three hours per day, three days a week, for three weeks. Campers learn a new healthy recipe each day in addition to testing fun flavors at the fruit smoothie station. Campers also care for the garden (weed and water), track plant growth, and are taught a new garden lesson each day. Exercise is also incorporated in our daily routine – be it relay races, bean races, yoga, aerobics, or simply playing hard at the playground.
Students also harvest produce from the school gardens to sell at a youth farm stand. The stand made more than $300 last year, and all excess produce was donated to low income senior apartments. This summer, the School Garden-Based Nutrition Education program plans to participate in the new Westside Farmer’s Market, with plans to donate excess produce to the Greater Lansing Food Bank to distribute to low-income families.
The goal of our program is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Last year we saw a 46 percent increase in vegetable consumption and a 17 percent increase in fruit consumption according to pre and post parent surveys. Food Systems Project feels our “seed to plate” format to be the main contributor to our success; as students will eat what they worked hard to grow.
Staffing and food sampling costs are provided by the Michigan Nutrition Network. All garden costs are paid via community and partner donations.
If you would like to learn more about the Food Systems Project School Garden-Based Nutrition Education Program; contact Joy Baldwin at (517) 999-2894; email@example.com; or visit www.nwlansing.org/fspschoolgardens.html.