Healthy Acadia works on numerous Farm to School projects across Hancock and Washington County. Katie Freedman coordinates our Farm to School efforts across Hancock County. Regina Grabrovac coordinates our Farm to School efforts across Washington County. We are excited to continuously build connections between our schools and producers, increasing nutrition and educational opportunities for our students and supporting our local farms and fishermen. Healthy Acadia’s Farm to School projects include:
Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Farm to School Program created the School Supported Agriculture (SSA) Program in 2010 as a way to build on the strengths and existing capacity of Maine's Downeast farms, to increase farm sales to local schools, and to establish lasting partnerships between schools and farms.
Many of the farms already employ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) as an effective tool to manage sales, production, cash flow, and distribution. The school-supported agriculture model utilizes agreements made between farms and schools similar to the CSA model. Our coordinators, one based in Hancock County and one based in Washington County, organize meetings between school cooks and farmers during the spring to establish expectations for multiple weeks of fall purchasing. The SSA Agreements cover the types and quantities of product to be purchased, the delivery schedule, and the best communication methods between the two parties.
SSAs provide farmers with a multi-week purchase commitment enabling them to plant crops for emerging institutional markets. Schools enjoy greater predictability in product, with a delivery and pricing schedule that enables school kitchens to serve seasonal lunches. SSA purchasing partnerships expand the amount of food purchased by schools and improve student access to fresh foods, thereby creating an environment where students and families are provided with exemplary models on which to base their own consumption.
Healthy Acadia’s Apple Project is a program that we offer to schools across Hancock and Washington County, free of charge. Our Washington and Hancock County Coordinators offer programming in dozens of schools, reaching thousands of students.
In the first session at each school, a taste testing of locally-grown heirloom varieties introduces students to new flavors and piques their interest. This is followed by a discussion about the region's apple heritage and diversity, the kids' own apple experiences, and the biology and ecology of the apple tree. At the end of the first session students are instructed to go out into their own backyards and communities to harvest apples. At the second session, usually the following week, the Farm to School Coordinator returns to the class and leads a hands-on apple cider pressing with apples that the students have gathered. The lessons that day include how to make cider, other uses of apples, and the history of cider.
For more information about this exciting program or to get your class involved, contact:
Hancock County Schools: Nikki Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington County Schools: Regina Grabrovac at email@example.com
Developing school gardens is an excellent way to provide more fresh, healthy food in cafeterias, as well as enhanced educational opportunities for students. Teachers can develop curriculums that include components of gardening and nutrition, using the school garden as tool for hands-on, experiential education. School cooks can use the garden produce to expand healthy choices for cafeteria meals.
Healthy Acadia is dedicated to supporting school garden development. We co-coordinate School Garden 101 and School Garden 201 courses in partnership with the Hancock County Cooperative Extension. These courses are open for teachers, school cooks, and parents – all people working in school gardens who want to learn how to better manage gardens. The courses cover a wide variety of topics, including gardening techniques, methods to connect gardens to curriculums, and processes to fully integrate gardens throughout the school system.
Over the years Healthy Acadia has been able to provide seed grants that help schools start or expand school gardens. We have also been able to provide grants for schools to purchase necessary cafeteria equipment, such as salad bars. Our Coordinators in Hancock and Washington County are able to provide technical assistance and resources to schools as they develop school gardens and integrate the gardens into curriculums.
For more information, contact:
Katie Freedman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regina Grabrovac at email@example.com
Healthy Acadia's Downeast Farm to School Program has published the 2013 Downeast Maine's Directory of Food Producers.
This directory lists farmers and food producers interested in selling their products to schools and other institutions, and it also includes a variety of other helpful information. The directory can help schools and other organizations find and secure fresh, local food for their cafeterias, thereby creating healthier eating options for those they serve (like students, visitors, and staff!), and supporting the local economy.
The directory can be useful for any institution interested in purchasing local food. If you'd like more information or a copy of this directory, contact Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also download a copy of the directory here.
For more information, contact:
Nikki Fox at email@example.com