The Center for Rural Affairs recently announced awards to five schools in Nebraska who will participate in the School Greenhouse to Cafeteria facilitation program for the 2016 to 2017 school year.
The selected schools will receive one-on-one support from the Center for Rural Affairs to cultivate school greenhouses and gardens that will provide food for the school cafeteria, educate students about where food comes from, and teach entrepreneurial skills. This project builds a much needed and desired network of school greenhouses and gardens and associated resources to promote school garden expansion, potentially having far reaching impacts across the state. Each of these awarded schools will receive start-up grant funds for supplementing or kickstarting the school garden project.
Participating Schools include:
Auburn Public School, Auburn, NE
Garden County Schools, Oshkosh, NE
Blue Hill Community Schools, Blue Hill, NE
Southern Valley Schools, Oxford, NE
Sutton Public Schools, Sutton, NE
“Building farm to school teams and setting goals helps to make a farm to school program more sustainable, in particular by providing ag educators who may not have extensive fruit and vegetable production expertise with one-on-one technical assistance,” added Sarah Smith, Farm to School Lead with the Center for Rural Affairs. “This is also an opportunity to provide engage students in hands-on learning, teach healthy habits, build an edible education program, and have a large impact on your community as the program grows.”
According to Smith, each school district awarded funding has at least one administrator, food service manager, and ag educator or greenhouse manager participating in the School Greenhouse to Cafeteria efforts. And individuals filling all three roles in each school enthusiastically agreed to work on the program with with Center for Rural Affairs staff.
“This level of participation and engagement by educators and food service professionals has been inspiring, and is vital to the success of this effort,” Smith added. “We’re excited to help bring a nutritious, educational and entrepreneurial experience to as many students as possible. And we’re proud of the partnership and collaborative spirit of these school districts as well as the Blooming Prairie Foundation, whose support made all this possible.