School Nutrition Helps Guilford Elementary Introduce PBL Unit

guilford taste party 5

Written By: Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator

Last week, School Nutrition worked with the third-grade students at Guilford Elementary to kick off their year-long PBL project. The driving question for this unit is “how can we as young chefs, make healthy choices at school and at home?” Stefanie Dove, RDN and Marketing Coordinator, has collaborated with the teachers at Guilford to guide students with this project through a variety of activities from fruit and vegetable taste tests, recipe writing and development, cooking, and menu planning.

The introduce this project, Willowsford Farm and School Nutrition Services donated produce for all third-grade students, teachers and their parents to sample a variety of seasonal produce. The taste party included: broccoli, purple cabbage, radishes, spinach, carrots, apples, pears, roasted squash and beets. All students tried the items together while discussing the importance of trying new foods and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to fuel their bodies with essential vitamins and minerals. At the end of the taste party, 10 students were randomly selected to take bags of produce home with them so that they could encourage their families to try new foods as well.

willowsford 2

For more information on this Project-Based Learning (PBL) project or to collaborate on a project or nutrition education activity, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org

willowsford

Advertisements

Putting School Nutrition in the Spotlight at the 1st Annual Regional Garden Summit

Written By: Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator

On October 14th, 2017, DC Greens hosted the first annual Regional School Garden Summit at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary in Washington, D.C. The goal of the Summit was to nurture the emerging regional network of nonprofits, schools, and government agencies interested in capacity and network building around school gardens by providing a space to learn, share best practices and make new connections. The day consisted of panel discussions covering topics such as innovative school garden program models, sustaining school gardens through public policy and advocacy, growing networks, and collaborative efforts to connect gardens and the cafeteria.

Stefanie Dove, RDN, School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator for Loudoun County Schools Department of School Nutrition, sat on the panel to discuss the ways LCPS utilizes school gardens as educational tools to connect the concepts to school meals. LCPS Cafe also provided copies of their School Garden Toolkit in the gift bags for all attendees. Mark Pankau, Physical Education Teacher at Guilford Elementary, sat on a panel to discuss the importance of growing school garden networks.

In the afternoon, all 75 attendees were provided a lunch that was prepared using ingredients from the school garden. After lunch, attendees were shuttled onto buses where they spent the afternoon touring several school gardens across the district. The summit ended with an evening of networking with other school garden advocates in the region.

For more information on the school garden program in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org.

Cedar Lane and Sugarland Receive Grants for School Gardens

Last month, Cedar Lane Elementary and Sugarland Elementary were the recipients of grants to help support their school garden efforts.  These grants were made possible by the Northern Virginia Dietetic Association (NVAND).  Each school received $100 from the organization.

These schools were selected from 12 applicants in the Northern Virginia region.  Each school submitted a detailed application where they had to describe the educational purpose and goals of their gardens while also discussing the impact and outcomes their garden had on the students and community.  Each application was ranked and voted on by board members of NVAND.

sugarland nvand 3

NVAND President, Teresa Lucas and Sugarland Garden Coordinator, Darielle Timothy

Sugarland uses their school garden to help students learn the role they play in both the community and as health ambassadors.  The garden coordinators help students understand that growing nutritious foods can be done regardless of ones income level.  They focus on inquiry-based learning and real world problem solving so that students can understand how gardens directly relate to their lives; such as the garden to cafeteria initiative.  They develop consistent schedules for the garden so that each grade has responsibilities relating to the project.

cedar lane garden grant

NVAND President Teresa Lucas and the Cedar Lane staff

 

Cedar Lane currently uses their garden to help their Autism classes learn curricular skills as well as career and working behaviors through garden-based activities.  They able to grow a variety of produce items which helps students become exposed to new foods.  Students learn the importance of following directions and reading recipes, conversational skills and money counting.  The Cafeteria Manager at Cedar Lane assists students with garden-based recipes and taste tests.  Cedar Lane also uses the harvest from their garden to host annual farmer’s markets at the school.  This allows the students to understand the background of having a business.

For more information on the farm to school program or school garden information in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org or visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org

Frederick Douglas Students Take A Journey Through The Garden With School Nutrition

fde kinderWhat started out as a rainy day turned into one of sunshine for kindergartners at Frederick Douglas Elementary School as they partook in a special food and nutrition lesson on April 20th. Each student participated in a sensory activity where they used their senses to guess which vegetable was in the mystery bag. As little detectives, the kindergartners described how the vegetable felt, whether it was large, small, hard, soft, or fuzzy and guessed which vegetable it could be. They journeyed through the life cycle of a vegetable plant; starting with a seed, growing to a sprout, and ending with a vegetable. But the journey wasn’t complete without tasting the fruit of gardening.

LCPS Nutrition Intern lesson

The kindergarten classes assembled vegetable boats out of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, watermelon radishes, and hummus. They loved playing with their food and tasting it too! One of the most common reactions was how they thought a pepper would be spicy, but they were surprised to find the bell peppers are sweet! Other students mentioned how they loved dipping their veggies in hummus for some extra flavor.

fde kinder 2

Overall, the cucumber was the crowd favorite, however, the students were open to trying all the vegetables. This supports what current research is stating. Research shows that when children are in  direct exposure of fruits and vegetables it is associated with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables and an increased confidence in trying new ones. This is one of the reasons that over half Loudoun County Public Schools have school gardens. LCPS uses their school gardens as an educational and agricultural resource for their students to become more familiar with fruits and vegetable, to be more willing to eat them, and to teach healthy lifestyle behaviors.

 

For more information on the Farm to School program in Loudoun County or to schedule a nutrition education lesson at your school, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN and School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator (Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org).

Loudoun All-Stars to Sign Cards for School Kids

DSCF4392

Loudoun County’s award-winning farmer trading cards are back by popular demand. For the second year, Loudoun elementary school children will receive baseball-style trading cards on Tuesday, April 4th. The cards feature Loudoun County farmers, several of whom will make special appearances at Loudoun elementary schools to autograph cards:

  • Alex Bates, If It Flies Farm – Lucketts Elementary;
  • Sara Brown, Oakland Green Farm – Emerick Elementary in Purcellville;
  • Julie Borneman, Watermark Woods – Waterford Elementary;
  • Adrienne Green, Independence Homestead – Evergreen Mill Elementary in Leesburg;
  • Warren Howell, Allder School Berries – Lovettsville Elementary;
  • John Moore, Temple Hall Farm Park – Frederick Douglass Elementary in Leesburg;
  • Mary Ellen Taylor, Endless Summer Harvest – Balls Bluff Elementary in Leesburg.

“It’s great to have children look up to these successful business owners, who not only contribute to Loudoun’s economy, but also help feed the community,” said Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer.

“Last year’s farmers were treated like all-stars when they visited the schools,” said Loudoun’s Agricultural Development Officer Kellie Hinkle. “The cards generated so much excitement that local, regional and national media ran stories about them. School systems in other states contacted us to talk about producing trading cards of their own.”

Loudoun Economic Development partners with Loudoun County Public Schools on the cards.

“Our goal is to promote healthy eating, as well as to educate children about the importance of farming and where their food comes from,” said Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, director of School Nutrition.

The other farmers featured on this year’s cards are Anna and Daniel Cohen of Bay Haven Farm, and John and Joel McClintic of Thousand Hills Farm. Entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding a farm business in Loudoun can contact Kellie Hinkle by calling 1-(800)-LOUDOUN.

For more information on this promotion or details on the School Nutrition Program in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove at (571) 252-6502.

School Nutrition Hosts District Wide Taste Test

The Harvest of the Month promotion began last school year and continues to be a popular event at all 87 schools in Loudoun County this year.  This farm to school promotion allows all students in the county to try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable at no cost each month.  Students have been able to try everything from parsnips and tricolor cauliflower to locally grown apples.

The feature item for February is starfruit.  This will be available during lunch to all elementary students on Thursday, February 16th as part of the Taste It Thursday promotion and to all middle and high school students on Friday, February 17th as part of the Fear Factor Friday promotion.

Not only does this promotion help expose students to new food items, it has also turned into a successful collaboration between School Nutrition Services and Monroe Technology graphic arts students.  The students design all of the posters for the events and send them to the schools monthly as their One to the World project.

The School Nutrition staff works closely with the students to discuss themes, design, and the Registered Dietitians work with them to provide interesting facts about each item being featured. These events take place each month.  There is a great lineup for the rest of the school year with blood oranges, watermelon radishes and fresh strawberries being the featured items.

Want to know more about this promotion? Visit your school cafeteria or stop by the School Nutrition website to discover some of the other activities we have going on in our schools.

 

Salad Science Comes to Algonkian and Selden’s Landing

Salad Science partnered with Second and Third grade students at Algonkian and Selden’s Landing Elementary schools this year. Teachers, Mary Carlson and Carrie Mock, served as the lead teachers at each of these schools to help organize the program. This program is divided into three sections, which is part of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program, enables students to grow their own lettuce while learning about edible parts of a plant, plant life cycles, composting, nutrition education, healthy eating, and general gardening skills.

Each phase contains a project-based learning mini-lesson that aligns with Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that incorporates a hands-on activity. Students did everything from writing journal entries where they recorded observations, made predictions on what would happen in the garden, and enhanced their math skills by charting data about the plants, weather, and precipitation. Classes were responsible for monitoring the garden beds, watering the plants, and tracking the progress of growth.

Students began the program by learning about the edible parts of a plant and planted lettuce seeds. They monitored the plans and thinned the lettuce to discuss and understand how nature recycles plant matter. The Salad Science program ended with students harvesting their lettuces where they participated in a salad party.  Students enjoyed having a taste party with the harvested lettuce along with a rainbow of healthy toppings and dressings.

publication6

The Salad Science program not only allows students to become more empowered when it comes to understanding and growing their own food, it also instills the importance of healthy eating and trying new things. This program helps expand the Farm to School efforts by the School Nutrition Department in the district. As of December 2016, Loudoun County currently has 48% of their schools utilizing schools gardens and nutrition education activities in the classroom.

For more information about the Farm to School or School Nutrition Programs in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org