The Farm to Fork program helps youth connect what they are learning about nutrition and gardening in the classroom with a hands-on experience. For many of these students, this is their first time visiting a farm. The learning station topics are all focused around agriculture and designed to increase knowledge of agriculture.
Since its inception in 2014, 1,025 school-age youth from ten schools and five community groups have participated in this educational experience. Through participation in the Farm to Fork activity, 81% of the youth surveyed increased their ability to make a difference in the community through feeding the hungry; 77% understand why agriculture is important and how it affects everyday life; and 91% understand the different roles animals play on the farm. All the youth have expanded their appreciation for and interaction with how food grows, and the environment where their food is grown.
Several of the schools have sent 4th or 5th graders to the Farm to Fork field days for two or more years. The teachers and principals feel it is a valuable field trip for the youth that helps them understand where their food comes from and learn more about the food system.
One youth experienced harvesting, washing, and bagging carrots to be given out at the Food Bank. A few weeks later he was opening his weekend food backpack, which is provided at his school, and he pulled out a bag of carrots just like the ones he harvested. He screamed with delight that he picked and bagged those very carrots. He truly experienced the farm to table concept.
“I learned why eating fresh vegetables are healthier for you than old vegetables.” 5th grader from Burton Elementary School
“Vegetables fresh from the garden taste different than the ones from the store.” 4-H summer camp participant
“Today I learned how to make a square foot garden.” 5th grader from Fircrest Elementary School
“I think I would like to be a farmer.” 5th grader from Ellsworth Elementary School
Funding and Partners
- Clark County Master Gardener Foundation: $1,500 grant per year to help buy supplies and provide funding for 4 school buses.
- Farm to School 2-year grant 2016-2017: Provides part-time coordinator to enhance educational stations and partnerships, and develop a Farm To Fork Field Guide. Also provides funds to bring 2 groups of youth from each of 5 schools.
- Partners: Clark County Food Bank, Clark County Master Food Preservers, Clark County Master Gardener Foundation, Clark County Master Gardeners, Clark County Food $ense Program, and Clark County 4-H volunteers