It is common knowledge that Taher, the school district’s food service provider, has an excellent menu full of great tasting and healthy options for our students. Patron Tour attendees get the privilege of eating “Viking pasta” and in two years I have yet to hear a complaint!
Now, North Branch Area Public Schools is partnering with Taher to bring locally-grown, student tended vegetables to the lunch table.
“Farm to Table” is an initiative that emphasizes a direct relationship between a farm and food service. In our case, the “farm” will be two plots; one in front of the Sunrise River School and another smaller plot at the North Branch Area Education Center for Community Education’s School Age Care program. To that end, the school district was recently awarded a $500 grant from the Jeffers Foundation toward the installation of the gardens.
We are in the process of identifying community and student volunteers to assist with the gardens, which will also serve as agricultural laboratories for classrooms. Given the growing season, it is likely that summer school and School Age Care students would have the greatest opportunity to learn in the garden.
We are also exploring potential ties between Farm to Table and another program approved by the school board for next year: the Prostart Culinary Program. Prostart is a nationwide, two-year program that allows students incredible access to education around food service. We are proud of this initiative and what it will add to our “Tech Ed” (formerly known as vocational education) offerings.
Of course, our “farm” will not be large enough to provide more than a seasonal augmentation of vegetables to our lunch tables, but what a learning experience it will be for kids to observe and participate in a process from seed to salad!