We are so excited that you will be implementing the Real Food Lab (RFL) summer practicum at your school! To access the summer practicum guides, click here.

Below, you will find resources to support the planning and implementation of the Real Food Lab summer practicum at your school. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Garden Educator if any questions arise!

Real Food Lab Overview

Summer Practicum Timing: 
The summer practicum will run for approximately six weeks and participating schools will work with their Big Green Garden Educator to set a re-occurring weekly schedule. All schools should plan to meet for approximately eight hours each week, typically two or three days per week, for a total of 48 hours of programming.

Summer Practicum School Application: 
All schools who are interested in participating in the Real Food Lab summer practicum will be required to complete and sign a brief school application, click here to access.

School Support Staff Role and Reporting: 
Participating schools will be required to recruit two school staff members to support the Real Food Lab summer practicum. School staff may be teachers, administrators, aides, or other staff members. School staff who support the Real Food Lab summer practicum will be responsible for all aspects of the program. This includes:

  • Attend a Teacher Training event prior to the summer practicum
  • Recruit and monitor attendance and behavior of all participating students
  • Coordinate with Big Green to develop a program schedule
  • Maintain and care for all programmatic and garden supplies
  • Plan and execute day-to-day activities
  • Host local food distribution events
  • Coordinate school-based accounting for all local food distribution events
  • Communicate with Big Green any programmatic questions or concerns
  • Report to Big Green all necessary forms and invoices

School staff who support the Real Food Lab summer practicum will be compensated at a rate of $20 per hour. Each school is allotted 72 billable hours per summer. All school staff will be required to submit the following information to Big Green over the course of the Real Food Lab summer practicum:

  • W-9: submit prior to the start of the RFL summer practicum
  • Student Roster: submit prior to the start of the RFL summer practicum
  • School Staff Invoice: submit at the end of each month
  • Student Invoice: submit at the end of the RFL summer practicum
  • Harvest Data: track harvest data and submit here after each harvesting event
  • Sales Sheet: submit after each local food distribution event

Student Role and Reporting: 
Participating schools can recruit up to 12 students to participate in the Real Food Lab summer practicum. Big Green has provided a sample Real Food Lab Summer Practicum Student Application in Appendix II. Schools are responsible for recruiting and overseeing all participating students, as well as gaining parent and guardian permission for participation. Students who are recruited to participate must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in participating high school, grades 9 through 12
  • Have completed the Real Food Lab curriculum and capstone coursework
  • Are available to participate for the entire summer practicum

All students who successfully complete the Real Food Lab summer practicum are eligible to receive a $500 stipend from Big Green. All students will be required to submit the following information over the course of the Real Food Lab summer practicum:

  • Student Application: submit to school prior to the start of the RFL summer practicum
  • W-9submit to Big Green prior to the start of the RFL summer practicum
  • Student Invoicesubmit to school at the end of the  RFL summer practicum

Learning Garden and School Access: 
Schools implementing Real Food Lab will need to provide participating school staff and students with access to both the Learning Garden and school building during the summer practicum. Participating schools will also be required to provide access to the following facilities in the school building: one classroom, bathrooms, hand washing station (can be in the bathroom), and at least three cubic feet of refrigerator space for produce storage.

Program Supplies: 
Your school will receive market and garden supplies to support the Real Food Lab summer practicum. It will be the responsibility of your school to maintain and care for these supplies. If your school chooses to participate in Real Food Lab summer practicum the following year or years, it will be your school’s responsibility to keep these supplies and replace any that go missing or have been damaged.

Program Evaluation:
All participating school staff is asked to complete a teacher post-survey upon completion of the Real Food Lab summer practicum.

Please note, the teacher post-survey is an important part of Big Green’s program evaluation process and is in no way assessments of the teacher or students. Your participation is crucial to the successful implementation of Real Food Lab in the future.

What to Expect? 
Being prepared to teach and implement Real Food Lab in your classroom and at your school will help assure that your students have a positive experience! Check out our Real Food Lab Curriculum and Capstone Expectations as well as our Real Food Lab Summer Practicum Expectations for more information on anticipated time commitment, program supplies, teacher trainings, and program evaluation requirements.

Want to connect with other educators using Real Food Lab? 
Join our Real Food Lab group in Schoology using the Access Code: 6NQMJ-TKJSP.