Farm to school partnership brings a-maize-ing opportunities to Shelby County Schools

October is National Farm to School Month and schools and communities across the country are celebrating the importance of food education. Did you know that Big Green provides opportunities for school communities to experience food education 365 days a year? In Memphis, Big Green partners with Shelby County Schools Nutrition Services to implement garden and nutrition based education in over 120 schools.

Last year, Big Green, Shelby County School District (SCS) and the Shelby County Health Department worked together to identify Harvest of the Month fruit and vegetable selections for Shelby County Schools and affiliated charter schools. The fruits and vegetables were selected to include seasonal crops growing in school gardens, as well as snacks provided to elementary school students participating in the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Nutrition Services created the Harvest of the Month posters that have been placed in school cafeterias – which you can view here!

Nutrition Services also created a program called Grow, Taste and See, where a farmer, chef, and dietitian visit schools and speak with the students about what it takes to grow the Harvest of the Month or other seasonal produce. The dietician discusses the nutritional benefits the fruit or vegetable provides and the chef connects it to the kitchen by sparking discussions about the different ways to cook it to bring out the best flavor. The district uses Kitchen a la Cart  to provide a taste test of the item that is prepared for students at the end of the sessions. During harvest season in October and November, and then again in April and May, Nutrition Services has been implementing the Grow, Taste and See program alongside harvest days led by Big Green Garden Educators.

Big Green’s partnership with Shelby County Schools Nutrition Services allows students to experience connections between planting, harvesting, and consuming locally grown produce at their schools year-round. You can learn more and find a ton of resources to use at your school and your community at the National Farm to School Network – Farm to School Month website.