GG’s lastet dig: Farm to School & School Gardens

It’s officially summer and we have some exciting news to share:  The Oregon House and Senate unanimously approved new  “Farm to School and School Gardens” legislation, FoodCorps educators are coming to Oregon, Growing Gardens’ Youth Grow Summer Garden Camp starts this week, and we just wrapped up the first Growing Gardens intensive School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training! Read on to learn more…

Youth Grow students tending their school garden
The Oregon Legislature approved HB 2800 “Farm to School and School Gardens” bill that  will provide $200,000 to a pilot program to jump-start serving Oregon-grown foods in public schools & provide more hands-on garden based education to students.

Funds, which will go to the Oregon Department of Education, will reimburse two medium sized school districts an additional 15 cents per school lunch to buy Oregon foods, and will support school garden teaching activities.

For more information about this new legislation, read the press-release put out by Upstream Public Health also check out the health impact assessment done on this bill that highlights the outcomes of this legislation which include creating & maintaining jobs for Oregonians, increasing student participation in school meal programs & increasing childhood food preferences for fruits and vegetables.

The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded FoodCorps $625,000 to support 50 AmeriCorps members who will serve to increase vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. This grant makes it possible for FoodCorps members to serve at 42 sites in 10 states – including 5 sites in Oregon!

Working under the direction of the local partner organization, Oregon Department of Agriculture, one FoodCorps service member will conduct nutrition education, build and tend school gardens, and expand our Youth Grow program at Growing Gardens!

Growing Gardens School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training participants learning about garden infrastructureGrowing Gardens' School Garden Coordinator
Certificate Training summer 2011 intensive

This June Growing Gardens’ offered our  School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training as a summer intensive – 28 participants spent one full week learning about the best practices around developing school  garden committees, maintenance plans, infrastructure, fund raising plans and more! Fifteen of the participants took the program for credit through Portland State University Graduate School of Education continuing education and all graduates left with a plan of action on how they will put the training materials to use at their own school!

Growing Gardens’ Youth Grow Garden Camp begins this week at five of our partnering schools. Pesha (Youth Grow Educator, AmeriCorps) is teaching at Earl Boyles, Humboldt and Shaver, and Sarah (School Garden Coordinator and Educator) is teaching at Vernon, in partnership with the Community Cycling Center’s Summer Bike Camp, and at Faubion.  Summer Garden Club is a great time for youth to dig in the dirt, dive into the process of growing food, and eat fresh veggies – harvested from their own gardens.

Summer has just begun and we have new Farm to School legislation, new FoodCorps volunteers, and 28 educators newly trained to coordinate school gardens. The school gardens movement is off to a great start this summer, and we hope your gardens are too!

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