To nurture a strong Farm-to-Cafeteria Program incorporating local organic food sources, the community and the public school cafeteria; to provide education about local agriculture and sustainability through “Farm to Classroom,” and maintain a solid base upon which the Orcas Island Farm-to-Cafeteria Program can continue to grow, prosper and provide good health and nutritional experiences for our youth.
Our Program teaches about nutrition, food differences, how to eat proper foods for healthy bodies, see how food is grown, visit farms and meet farmers, learn to cook...these are all aspects of an effective Farm to Cafeteria Program. They are the aspects we are binding together and disseminating through our classrooms, the school garden, the school cafeteria, the community and the farms.
K-8 FARM TO CLASSROOM PROJECT:
The Farm to Classroom component of the Farm to Cafeteria Program is the quintessential link that completes the perfect Farm to School circle. Students learn about grains, turn them to flours and make breads. Chefs from the community visit the classroom and teach culinary skills. They visit our farms and milk goats, pluck warm eggs from a nesting hen, water pigs and experience cows up close. They learn to compost, respect the Earth and its incredible bounty and give back rather than waste.
In the Elementary K-5 Farm to Classroom, every student spends a minimum of one hour a week in the Farm to Classroom project. Students work in our school garden turning the soil, harvesting a variety of herbs (among their favorite being fresh sorrel!), brassicas, pumpkins, snap peas, strawberries, lettuces and edible flowers. They harvest seeds to both save and share by making seed packets. They rake up the fallen Autumn leaves to cover the soil in the Winter so the garden’s fertile ground will be protected from the cold weather and snow so it can flourish again in the Spring.
Farm to Classroom grades 6, 7 and 8 are exploratory classes and are 2 hours a week for 6 weeks. This allows the class to visit farms and take on projects and experiences that reach far outside the classroom. Recent visits have been to Coffelt Farm, Buck Bay Shellfish Farm and Orcas Moon Alpacas. Students have delved into the art of artisan cheese-making, oysters harvesting, building a worm composting bin and hand turning an old-fashioned barrel press to make fresh apple cider.
The Orcas Island Education Foundation (OIEF) funds the Farm to Classroom Project from Kindergarten through Grade 8. We are truly grateful to all the donors to OIEF for keeping Farm to Classroom alive! We could not do it without our community!