Throughout the City of Columbus, elementary age students are looking through mini magnifying glasses, eagerly watching sprouts grow, right in their own homes. This creative, hands-on learning approach has been taken by Ohio’s largest school district, Columbus City Schools (CCS), to keep students actively engaged this school year. As part of the district’s Farm to School initiative, CCS created and delivered 1,500 garden take home kits, all aligned with lesson plans. This project was led by CCS Farm to School Coordinator, Christine Weatherholtz. The kits include garden and science tools suggested by teachers, for the students to use with the lessons provided. There are 75 CCS elementary schools and 44 with gardens. Weatherholtz recognizes that each of the 44 schools […]
Ohio Farm to School Success Stories
Gardening and Nutrition Education Activities
Although Americans are spending time quarantining, there are plenty of positives to staying home together.
#1 it is finally spring and the perfect time to start a garden!
#2 Because families are spending time together at home, it’s a great time to spend some time gardening together.
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, recommends getting outdoors and spending time gardening.
“We need to get people outside doing the thing that is great for mental health. We can also be sharing some of those plants, doing some of that gardening, getting out of doors, single handedly can be alone. Being out there in nature is going to help you feel better,” said Dr. Acton.
Below is a list of Farm to School activities that have been adjusted to fit the current lifestyle- have fun taking Farm to School home!
#1 Plant A Seed Day: The at-home activity and resource guide for Plant a Seed Day! These activities will keep you busy all day long!
#2 Garden Journal: Start a garden journal to observe and track what is happening in your garden! What do you see, hear, and smell? If you haven’t started a garden yet, make sure to create a journal once you do have a garden to observe!
#3 Mini Garden: The guide to starting a miniature garden! Build your own small landscape indoors or outdoors with materials found around the house!
#4 SEEDS Guided Activities: The SEEDS activities from Scotts Miracle Gro, including pre-planned activities for every season!
#5 Seed Viewers: Super simple and fun to watch, these bean seeds in clear plastic cups allow young gardeners to watch seeds sprout and introduce them to the life cycle of plants. More at home activities from Kids Gardening can be found here.
#6 Harvest For Healthy Kids: A free evidence-based curriculum! Check out Harvest for Healthy Kids 13 FREE activity kits with activities, books and recipes that could keep you busy at home year-round!
#7 Exploring Hydroponics: Kids are always amazed to see plants growing without soil. This simple kid-powered system gives them a chance to experiment and explore hydroponic basics.
#8 Dairy Coloring Book: Break out some coloring pencils, crayons or markers and dive into the Undeniably Dairy coloring book!
#9 Growing Great Tasters: The Growing Great Tasters activity! As a family try one new fruit or vegetable every day for a week and record what you like!
#10 Relax and Read A Book! After so many active gardening activities, take some time to relax and read a book. Growing Minds children’s has a great collection of children’s gardening literature and many more activities!
For help or questions about gardening, contact your county's Extension office here. Find updated gardening information for Ohio on the Growing Franklin site.
GREAT Apple Crunch Virtual Events 2020
We are SO excited to share these interactive and fun Apple Crunch Experiences to celebrate National Farm to School Month! Here is the link to the Facebook live Virtual Crunch Day Event! This 15-minute virtual Crunch is hosted at Quarry Hill Orchards, where Farmers Ben and Brooke answer most asked apple questions in the orchard! Crunchers will learn where apples are grown, how they grow, and how they to their plates! Here is the link to an Apple Crunch event from SNAP-Ed Program Assistants in Wood, Seneca, Ottawa, Lucas, and Sandusky counties! This interactive Apple Crunch event includes apple facts, jokes, physical activity (picking apples in an orchard), reading Apple Farmer Annie and of course, a big CRUNCH! Now that […]
Ohio State Students Create School Garden Outreach Program
Ohio State Students Create School Garden Outreach Program Across degree program at Ohio State, students want to help people improve their health and improve their lives. Ohio State medical students Ryan Poland, Brandon Rodgers, and Nicole Hurwitz will provide health care to treat patients’ illnesses. However, they are even more interested in preventing illnesses from arising before individuals need to visit a doctor. To this end, these dedicated medical students organized the Ohio State School Garden Outreach and Engagement group to help implement and maintain school gardens within the Columbus City Schools (CCS) district. “In our day, we see people being treated in the hospital instead of …starting with a good foundation. What you eat and what you do at […]
Head Start Great Apple Crunch
Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch 2019 What is Farm to School? Has your program ever grown a plant, served local food or taught about nutrition or agriculture? If so, you have participated in Farm to School efforts. If you haven’t participated in Farm to School activities, get started with the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch! The Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio celebrate National Farm to School Month ➚, nutritious meals and local farmers by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples at NOON on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Although we aim for a collective Crunch heard ‘round the region on October 10 at noon, you are welcome to Crunch any day or time in […]
2020 Meeting Dates
Ohio Farm to School State Network and Advisory 2020 Meeting Dates: March 5, June 4, September 3, December 3 Join the Ohio Farm to School Advisory and State Network meetings to connect with organizations, state agencies, and schools participating in Farm to School efforts throughout Ohio. All 2020 meetings are on Thursdays from 9:30 am–noon with a networking lunch from noon–1 pm. Meetings will be held at the Franklin County Extension building at 2548 Carmack Rd, Columbus, OH 43210. If you plan to attend the June 4 meeting, please register here.
Farm Fare Produce Vendor
Farm Fare was created when the three co-founders approached the same problem, but through three different lenses. Laura Adiletta, a former chef and food writer, aimed to improve ability for restaurants and food service kitchens to order superior quality product from local growers. Cullen Naumoff, wanted to get off the road and move freight more efficiently. And, Dan Conway, co-founder of Great Lakes Brewing Company, knew there was an better way to be stewards of the land. These lenses revealed a need for a new way of doing business and utilizing existing and often underutilized resources in the regional food system. Farm Fare reimagines the local food supply chain by equipping economies of collaboration to compete with the economies of […]
Seminary Hill Farm
An Ohio seminary is offering hands on training to its students on growing food. They are focused on being both a place of learning and a place to gather and celebrate fresh, local food. The Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) near Delaware founded Seminary Hill Farm (SHF) in 2013. They began raising food for their dining service in the spring of 2014. Tadd Petersen the manager of Farm and Food at SHF said, “We have raised far too many different crops to list them all. This season we raised roughly 30 different crops at around 80 different varieties. Baby greens are our specialty (and our most profitable crop).” They provided $26,000 worth of produce to the school’s dining hall […]
Bexley City Schools Enjoys Harvest of the Month
Pictured: Kristin Peters, Franklin Co. Public Health, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Juli Carvi director of food services at Bexley City Schools “School food does not have to be great, it just needs to be good,” explained Juli Carvi, the director of food services at Bexley City Schools. She thinks she has the best job in the school, because it is rewarding for her to make kids happy (with lunch) and she does not have to worry about giving them grades. “I have found zero resistance while implementing a Farm to School program in my district. The hardest part is the leg work and going after the Ohio products. It takes extra work for me to go after the products, but […]
A Cleveland Head Start Grows its Own Food
A Head Start in Cleveland has a children’s garden that has taken roots and helped to provide nutrition education and fresh produce for the students and their families. Their goals for having their garden is to encourage children and parents to eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as teaching families to have gardens at home. They encourage their families to consume a variety of foods and exercise more. Thelma Bizzell, site administrator at the CEOGC Louis Stokes Head Start, explained the interest in gardening began at their site in 2013 after one of the teachers read the children’s book Up Above and Down Below to their classroom. The students had expressed a curiosity about plants so the teachers began […]
Sandusky City Schools Gets a Win/Win in Farm to School
Sandusky City Schools was one of the first schools in Ohio to become active in Farm to School. “The district knew it was a win/win situation for the students and the community”, said Brad Kraft, Sandusky City Schools Dining and Food Services Director. The goal was to offer students a healthier choice of fruits and vegetables and to get them to eat them at the school and at home. “Our challenge was finding a farmer who could supply our district with such a high volume since we feed 3500 students”, said Kraft. “We found some local farmers and have a great relationship with Tender Shoot Farm and Eshelman’s Orchard”, he added. Kraft engages students in learning about local foods. He […]