Resource Spotlight: Fresh from the Farm

October 06, 2010

Today we have a guest blog by Kathleen Parkinson of Seven Generations Ahead. Thanks to Kathleen for sharing information about Fresh from the Farm!

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Children who learn to understand and appreciate the source and nature of their food are laying the foundation for a healthier tomorrow. This quiet but powerful concept is at the core of Fresh from the Farm, an educational program of the nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead. Using a fun, hands-on approach to learning, Fresh from the Farm threads together ecology, healthy eating, organics, and local farming through year-round curriculum lessons and activities.

Implementing the Fresh from the Farm curriculum supports schools’ efforts to meet the high standards for nutrition education set by the HealthierUS School Challenge, the program that First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging schools to take on as part of her Let’s Move campaign. It’s a great resource for schools taking part in the Go for Gold campaign to support Chicago Public Schools in meeting the challenge.

Now, we’re pleased to announce the Fresh from the Farm upcoming teacher training workshop series on Oct. 14, 15, and 16, 2010.  Learn how to creatively implement the Fresh from the Farm program in your school!  Engage in hands-on training, explore a local farm, network with fellow teachers, and learn from experienced garden and wellness educators.  Curriculum materials are included and classroom teachers can earn professional development (CPDU) credits.

Julia Kocian, an Americorps Volunteer working at the San Miguel Elementary school in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood attended a previous series of the trainings and shares her story:

“Austin is one example of what has been termed a 'food desert,' meaning there are very few mainstream grocers in the area and thus fresh produce and high quality meat is not available to many of its residents. Often times, children in underserved communities like Austin do not have the opportunity to learn about where the food on their plates comes from and why some foods are better for their bodies than others. This summer I set out to change that for 40 5th-8th graders in St. Joseph Services’ summer program at San Miguel Elementary School.

After attending a training in May with Seven Generations Ahead, I was ready and eager to implement the Fresh From the Farm educational program. The goal of this program was that after completing one session of 6-8 lessons, the children would have tasted new fruits and vegetables and developed their knowledge of where food comes from and how nutrients improve the health of the human body. The program was a huge success for all involved! Together, we learned about and tasted a variety of fruits and vegetables including bell peppers, blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, raspberries, and a surprise hit—fresh apricots. The students discovered new fresh foods that they haven’t been exposed to in the past and ended the program with a fresh interest in where food comes from and how its contents act in their bodies. From the beginning to the end, they showed measurable improvement in their knowledge of these topics, and fun was had by all along the way. ‘Thank you for teaching us [about] different fruits and vegetables!’ one student wrote in the class thank you card, ‘P.S. Love those apricots!’

With my year of service coming to a close, it was an absolute joy for me to be able to teach this curriculum. Moving forward, PCC and St. Joseph Services are planning to collaborate to enable the continuation of the Fresh From the Farm program at San Miguel in years to come!”

To learn more about the Fresh from the Farm program, click here.

To download a registration form, click here [pdf].

For additional information, or registration inquiries, please contact Cindy Gapinski of Seven Generations Ahead.

Keep reading for detail about each day of the training!

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