When schools closed in March due to COVID-19, it was clear that the normal channels for getting food from school gardens to children and their families would be disrupted. Students wouldn’t be around to eat the produce or to bring it home to be shared with their family. And yet, there was an increased demand for fresh food at local food banks. In response, local, non profit Garden To Table ramped up production of nutrient-dense vegetables for donation.
“Our first round of donations weighed in at 860 pounds (1,800 heads) of lettuce,” says Stephanie Dobbie, Director of Strategy & Partnerships at Garden to Table. “These produce donations went to families in need through Community Food Share and Boulder Food Rescue.”
As of October 7, we have donated 5,500 pounds including kale, carrots, tomatoes, beans and squash. And BVSD families can rest assured knowing that Garden to Table will keep school gardens thriving for when students return to campus.
Garden To Table supports school gardens in 19 Boulder Valley School District schools. In addition, their education program provides gardens and curriculum to 370 teachers, empowering them to bring their students (9,000+) into their school garden each year to participate in hands-on lessons about science and gardening.
“These experiences are designed to improve scientific understanding and expose students to new fruits and vegetables,” says Dobbie. “We also aim to engage them in gardening tasks, and develop a sense of environmental stewardship.”
The standards-based lessons address topics such as plant and insect biology, seed saving, pollination, water cycles, weather and climate, and human impacts on the environment. Garden To Table also provides garden designs, seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, teacher and parent volunteer training, garden check-ups, community work days, teaching supplies, and online scheduling tools and gardening resources.
To meet the needs of teachers and parents during phases of home learning, Garden To Table has produced video lessons for students in each grade level in English and Spanish. Each video is about 5-10 minutes long and comes with a worksheet and recommended activities that will take students away from their screens and outside to explore nature. These educational resources are free and can be accessed through their website at www.gardentotable.org.
To learn more about Garden to Table and how to support their efforts in their Food for Families campaign, visit their site here: gardentotable.org