The Somerville Farm to School Project works to EMPOWER MINDFUL EATERS! As a project of the Food and Nutrition Services Department of the Somerville Public Schools we work closely with kitchen staff, educators and community based organizations to provide good food inspiration and education to students and parents so that Somerville's youth can eat well all day long- both in school and at home.

Through food literacy programs in our cafeterias, classrooms and communities, students will acquire the tools to make informed decisions about personal and environmental health. From the garden to the table to the compost pile, students will have opportunities to interact with food at various levels.

By purchasing locally produced food when possible, we will connect students to their immediate urban surroundings and the larger Massachusetts rural farming environs. These collaborations with local food producers make Somerville a partner in the creation of resilient food systems and prosperous economies.

Within the school district and city of Somerville, we will promote wellness and food access policies that generate, facilitate and sustain systems change.
- Educate eaters about mindful eating and food systems
- Serve fresh, flavorful, and nutritious locally grown, seasonal foods in school meals and snacks
- Develop school gardens as a viable resource for Somerville schools and community
- Support local farmers and the local economy
- Create a tangible link to the city of Somerville's urban agriculture and healthy living initiatives

In December 2013, Somerville Public Schools received a $45,000 Farm to School Planning grant from the USDA. This one year grant provides funding to develop a long-term district-wide strategy that supports local sourcing and helps expand current farm to school efforts. The overarching, long-term goal is for SPS students to eat healthy meals ALL DAY LONG – before, during, and after school.

Seedlings from the Winter Hill Seedling Farm
For the Farm to School Project to be a continued success it depends on connections among three areas: cafeteria, classroom, and community. The SPS Food and Nutrition Services Department is working very hard to source local, fresh ingredients whenever possible. Classroom teachers are creating linkages between food in the cafeteria, school gardens, and the curriculum. The third piece is community, which include parents and community organizations that serve the SPS families.

Ladybug enjoying a snack of aphids on an eggplant leaf
Our partners include Groundwork Somerville, Mass Farm to School, Shape Up Somerville, Somerville Community Schools, Somerville Family Learning Collaborative, and UMass Extension. Other project collaborators include "E" Inc. and Project Bread.

Strawberry spinach salad taste test
Over the past 6 months we, along with our partners, have held taste tests, engaged parents and community members in meetings and activities, held planning team meetings, planted school gardens with students, hosted professional development days for teachers and other staff, and many more things. Look for upcoming blog posts that highlight these activities and more!
Seeding squash at the Kennedy School Planting Party

For the full press release, click here. For more information about the Somerville Farm to School Project please email Karyn Novakowski, Farm to School Project Director knovakowski@k12.somerville.ma.us.

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