Because all of the nation’s school districts that offer a federally funded school meal program are required by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 to update their wellness policy, DeKalb County is currently revising its Wellness Policy and could become one of the first districts in Georgia to include Farm to School (F2S) language.
Wellness policies provide direction for nutrition education, food served to students and more. Writing F2S language into DeKalb’s wellness policy would mean your child would learn where food comes from, enjoy locally grown food on the lunchline and promote work in the school garden and farm tours. Members of Georgia Organics’ Farm to School team, the DeKalb County Board of Health, the DeKalb County School System and DeKalb County parents have met several times starting in 2010 to discuss incorporating F2S programs into school life.
Soon after attending their first of these meetings, Chesnut parents Elizabeth Davis and Angela Renals founded Chesnut’s ecology club. Fast-forward six months, and HOORAY, we’ve been awarded our first grant, which will support the current DeKalb Wellness Policy by offering healthy food at a school event. One of the goals of this program is to generate dialogue about the DeKalb County Wellness Policy, among parents, students and school staff; such that Chesnut offers healthy food/drink choices at school events and in our classrooms.
This year at Chesnut’s Field Day in May, Chesnut students and staff will have a healthy snack, and meet the farmer who grew it and the chef who baked it!
On Field Day, classes will rotate through the simulated farmers market, tasting pizzas baked onsite, topped with seasonal produce from a local farmer and Chesnut’s own vegetable garden. Once students have sampled the different pizzas, they will “shop” at the farmer’s stand, where the grant will allow each student to take home (free of charge) one serving of the featured produce in a reusable shopping bag, along with a pizza recipe, the DeKalb County Wellness Policy, and information about local farmers markets and pick-your-own farms. Chesnut Ecology Club students from all grade levels will help the farmer run the stand when their class visits, sharing with their classmates what they have learned about how the seasonal produce was grown, why it’s nutritious, and why eating locally matters.
Georgia Organics has awarded Chestnut Charter Elementary a 2012 Farm to School Grant in the amount of $2,300 to run a Simulated Farmers Market with Chef Demo on Field Day. This grant is funded by a contract with the DeKalb County Board of Health “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” Obesity Initiative which aims to create a healthier community by implementing evidence based intervention strategies to prevent obesity. Georgia Organics is also working closely with DeKalb County Schools Nutrition Department to support their existing Local Harvest of the Month program (see how Chesnut Changers have been promoting the Georgia-grown monthly food in our cafeteria
If you’d like to be involved in Chesnut’s farm-to-school activities, and/or this event in particular, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.