Our farm and education programs intersect not only through the use of the farm as a center for learning, but also in our work with bringing good food and programming to public schools in the Hudson Valley. In 2016 CGF began providing fresh produce to Beacon City School District cafeterias, and in 2017 and 2018 the schools received over 3,000 pounds of produce throughout the growing season for both the Vegetable of the Month tastings and for regular lunchtime meals. We believe that every growing child has a right to healthy, fresh food, and the school cafeterias are a great way to provide fresh produce to all of the children in our community. We hope to engage other farmers and school districts to create a Farm to School produce procurement network in the Hudson Valley.
Local produce in the schools is not only beneficial for school children but can also be a viable local sales opportunity for farmers. In 2017 Common Ground became a client of the Pace University Law Food & Beverage clinic, where we are working with law students and professors to research the regulatory and administrative framework for school produce sales.
Email Education Director Sember Weinman to join our network and participate in Farm to School as a farmer, school or advocate.
Farm to School at Common Ground Farm is more than just local produce in the cafeterias; it is a collaborative partnership between many organizations in our region to ensure that children are connected to the outdoors, nourished by fresh produce and aware of where their food comes from. Every month the collaborative Vegetable of the Month program highlights a specific seasonal vegetable, which is grown at Common Ground and school gardens, discussed in garden lessons, and then eaten in the cafeteria on a special tasting day. Students visit Common Ground Farm on field trips in the spring and fall. Many of the same students also participate in Common Ground’s on-farm education programs outside of school, and when they become teenagers they have the opportunity to again become part of the farm through our partnership with Green Teen Beacon and the Next Step intern program. To learn more about our education programs, visit the education Farm to School page.