Do you remember going to the pumpkin patch with your first-grade class, or apple picking in kindergarten? In addition to offering a fun day out of the classroom, these field trips can help connect the dots for students between the source of food, their personal health, and community resilience. Teachers recognize the learning inherent in farms and edible gardens and the United States congress formally supported this connection in 2010 when they designated October as National Farm to School Month.
This designation encourages schools across the country to plan events, lessons, and activities that celebrate students’ relationships with local growers and the food they produce. Learning Gardens are specifically designed to make the connections between nutrition, learning and community more accessible to students and teachers on a daily basis. Since October in Indiana is peak harvest time for fall crops, it makes sense to celebrate by throwing a class party featuring delicious herbs and veggies from your school garden. There are several no-cook recipes and guidance on classroom food safety on our tasting and eating page.
For teachers and schools who wish to extend the theme beyond this month, The National Farm to School Network provides training and resources geared toward deepening the connections between schools and farms. So, enjoy the bounty of autumn, make new harvest memories for your students and take advantage of the institutional support to bring the farm into your classroom and cafeteria.