Groundwork’s Food and Farming team has, since 2013, worked with schools on the Harvest of the Month program. The team and our school partners develop lessons based on seasonal produce—one vegetable or fruit per month—offering recipes, prep tips, and fun activities for kids and adults. The purpose is to help children and families develop healthy food skills and habits and improve lifelong health.
The team saw a natural way to leverage those lessons by promoting Harvest of the Month in food pantries. The Farm to Neighbor program coordinates purchases with the Harvest of the Month calendar, and encourages pantry coordinators to use the school educational materials when working with pantry clients.
The strategy works when a child accompanies a parent to the food pantry and encourages fresh food choices because the child learned about and tasted the same fresh foods in school. Christina Barkel, Groundwork’s food equity specialist, says, “It gives me so much hope when I see kids come into the food pantry and see a vegetable and ask their mom, ‘Can we take this home? I tried this in school and I love it!’”
Our partners at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Farm to School program have a wonderful Farm to School web page that features each month's highlighted produce, as well as farm to school activities for classrooms and families.
Please contact Jen Schaap, [email protected], for more information about Harvest of the Month and our Farm to School programming.