SARATOGA CO., N.Y. — The Saratoga County Farm to School program has incorporated three new schools to the grant program and their first year has been one of the hardest years for schools in memory; but they pushed on. One of the newly added schools is the Galway Central School District, which celebrated their first Harvest of the Month this past April! Amy Thompson (Food Service, Cook Manager for Galway CSD) worked with the Farm to School Grant Coordinator Nicolina Foti (Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County) to put together this activity for Galway Students.
“I wanted to help Amy put this on. The easiest way we sought to do that was to pick an item the school is already providing to the students and is locally sourced. We can get our feet wet and see how Harvest of the Month will play out here in Galway”, Nicolina Foti stated.
Apples were an easy choice! While it may seem like April is an odd time of year to highlight apples, and since other schools chose apples as a harvest of the month in the fall time, it’s a great way to educate students on the importance of cold storage crops. Fruits and vegetables which are harvested in the fall can be kept fresh for many months and enjoyed all year long!
Harvest of the Month is a great part of the Farm to School Grant, and for those in the school and lunch programs it comes an additional responsibility. In a time where many in School Food Service are already stretched thin with additional labor steps providing students with safe breakfast and lunch options, Amy Thompson took on this task and challenge willingly.
“I believe in the Farm to School Grants message. The more fresh and local produce I can provide to the students, the better. It is important that they understand where our food comes from and the importance of healthy local food. While doing so is a challenge, especially this year, I feel it should be a priority”, Amy said.
Galway’s Harvest of the Month was a little different due to the involvement of the elementary art teacher Lynn Wasserman. She opened her classroom to highlighting the Harvest of the Month Apples to all of her classes (pre-K – 6th grade) during their art period. Students were able to taste their apples and give feedback on what they thought about them. If they thought the apples were sweet, crunchy, tart, dry, juicy, soft and/or hard. They also were able to color some educational apple coloring pages. Lynn Wasserman also spoke to the students about where they can get local apples, and why it is important to eat locally sourced products and produce. The students also learned about the parts of an apple, different types, and the season of an apple tree.
Lynn said, “The whole experience was a success! The students loved the activities and they appreciated having a snack in art. Many asked for a second apple. This was just a fun and educational lesson…tons of smiles from the kids.”
The first Harvest of the Month for Galway CSD is in the books and a great success! Thanks to all those involved and especially to those in the school district who took the time to find a way to make it work and add to the already busy school day. It is the dedication from these individuals, especially during difficult times, that give these different and immersive experiences to students.
For more information about Saratoga County Farm to School Program visit ccesaratogacounty.org Agriculture – Farm to School. Or email our Farm to School Coordinator Nicolina Foti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County
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