A Delicious Partnership
USDA Farm to School Grant Supports Local Fruit & Veggie Consumption
The USDA recently awarded Leah’s Pantry a 2-year grant award through its its Farm to School Program, which is aimed at bringing locally or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias. Farm to School also encompasses hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes, and the integration of food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum.
The USDA funded project will support San Diego Unified School District’s Farm to School Program through on‐site production of salad bar ingredients at school gardens in high poverty, low opportunity neighborhoods. Fruits and vegetables, grown by students at six Promise Zone school sites, will be harvested for their cafeterias as well as for instruction that improves local food consumption among students and enhances food and agricultural literacy.
Meet Janelle Manzano, the Farm-to-School Program Specialist for the Food and Nutrition Department of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). She will be partnering with Leah’s Pantry to provide nutrition education to students, teachers and family members at Promise Zone schools over the next two years. She will also train 20 staff and volunteers in protocols for the Garden to Café program, which allows students to harvest their garden-grown produce and serve it as part of the school meal program. Additionally, she will train teachers to deliver Harvest-of-the Month tastings in their classrooms and assist the Leah’s Pantry educator with providing hands-on garden-based gardening and nutrition classes.
Through these experiential activities, as well as highlighting the importance of consuming fresh, local foods and the impact it has on the environment, health and economy, we expect to increase consumption of local fruits and vegetables as well as decrease plate waste.
Welcome aboard, Janelle!