ARPS Farm to school Program Expansion
This year, ARPS is participating in Farm to School planning work with the support of Massachusetts Farm to School and the USDA. On October 12 and 13, a team from ARPS attended the Mass Farm to School Institute at the Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA. This team, one of only eight selected in the state to receive year-long Farm to School support, attended workshops to help inform our planning work and had time to work as a team on our goals and action steps toward successfully implementing a farm to school plan. Some of the workshop and discussion topics included integrating more locally-sourced food into school breakfasts and lunches; planning for the long-term sustainability of the school garden program; providing students with more opportunities for hands-on, project-based learning; and providing teachers with the training and resources to be able to implement this successfully. The ARPS team includes Timothy Sheehan, Curriculum Coordinator; Jennifer Reese, Elementary Science & Garden Coordinator; Lisa Poirier, Kindergarten teacher; Sasha Palmer, School Nutrition Director; Laura Draucker, parent and Sustainability Director at Amherst College; and Will Snyder, parent and UMass Extension Educator. In concert with this work, the district is formulating a K-12 Farm to School plan, with a focus on the three core Farm to School areas: Cafeteria, Classroom, and Community, as a part of a USDA Farm to School planning grant. The evolving and working draft can be seen here.
Join our Team!
USDA Farm to School grant update
Next Steps for Farm to School
The Farm to School work that the district began at the start of this school year is ready to move into the next phase. Building on our essential relationships with local farmers, our strong in-house food services program and school garden program, we are working together towards our vision of “Building a stronger, healthier community through diversity, food access and equity, local farm and food system connections, and joyful learning.”
The program is seeking community volunteers to help create a comprehensive plan to attain its vision. Volunteers are needed for the following teams:
- Cafeteria Team – focusing on local procurement, reducing waste, increasing program revenue, maximizing operational efficiencies, and informal education leading to a sustainable business model.
- Curriculum Team – focusing on experiential classroom, garden and farm-based learning.
- Community Team – focusing on creating a stronger link among ARPS, the larger community and local food. A few examples include: identifying regional producers that can supply more local and culturally appropriate foods for menus;
recipe development; expanding the current catering offerings; and creating a community dinner utilizing recipes reflective of the diversity of community.
These volunteers will be required to attend one meeting/month throughout the school year (approximately 2 hours/month) at the ARPS Central Offices. Additionally, the program is looking for team members who have some expertise and skills/knowledge related to the content of the team they are interested in.
If you are interested in serving on one of the Farm to School teams, or if you would like to contribute to this work in other ways, please complete this form by January 11th, 2019. https://docs.google.com/forms
Please email Vicki Van Zee, USDA Grant Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions.