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.

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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.

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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.

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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

LCPS School Nutrition Launches 1st Annual Farm to School Art Contest

October is FARM TO SCHOOL MONTH! Help Loudoun County School Nutrition Services celebrate the month by participating in our first annual art contest!

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Our 2016 theme is What Farm to School Means to Me. This is a call for art from all LCPS students – send us your artwork showcasing what you think of when you hear “Farm to School.”

This contest is open to all Loudoun County Public School students. Entries will be judged by an esteemed panel on originality, creativity and how well the entry illustrates the theme.

CONTEST RULES

Artists must be enrolled students in grades K-12 at LCPS. Entries must be original, must relate to the theme described above, and must be accompanied by a completed entry form. The deadline for contest submissions is October 30, 2016.

Contest winners will be announced in November.

Please visit the School Nutrition Services website (www.LCPSHealthyCafe.org) for more information or contact Stefanie Dove at Stefanie.Dove@lcps.org.

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Wegmeyer Farms Donates Over 400 Strawberry Plants to Loudoun County Schools

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Catoctin Elementary students planting the donated berry plants.

Last month, Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Virginia generously donated over 400 plants to 17 schools in the district as a way to enhance their current school gardens and allow School Nutrition Services to help them make connections about their food.  Each school received approximately 30 plants that will mature to fully producing strawberry plants over the next year.  These berries can then be utilized in school meals and classroom education lessons.

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Students are making learning connections with the plants and how they grow.

Wegmeyer Farms has been partnering with school nutrition services this year through the successful farmer trading card series.  In May, some of Loudoun County Schools will see Wegmeyer strawberries on their serving lines for school breakfast and lunch.  Later this month, School Nutrition will be on the strawberry farm to film the first ever, virtual farm field trip that will be accessible to all students on the School Nutrition website.

For more information on Wegmeyer Farms visit their website.

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Catoctin students working with teachers to plant in the school garden.