<![CDATA[FRESHFARM - FoodPrints Blog]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:39:16 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[FoodPrints in the 2016-17 School Year: Real-World Learning and Positive Changes]]>Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/foodprints-in-the-2016-17-school-year-real-world-learning-and-positive-changesBecause of FoodPrints, more than 2,600 students in DC Public Schools had opportunities throughout the school year to garden; chop, mix, and prepare nutritious recipes; and learn academic content through these hands-on experiences.

In the 2016-17 school year, FoodPrints:
  • Taught students PreK-3 through 5th grade with more than 1,200 instructional hours in our 7 partner schools.
  • Served predominantly low-income or disadvantaged students (70% of the students we serve are eligible for free or reduced meals) in Wards 2, 6, 7, and 8.
  • Reached more than 150 classroom teachers who participated in FoodPrints lessons.
  • Hosted about 800 volunteers in FoodPrints sessions and school gardens. Many volunteers are parents who learn and try new foods alongside their children.
  • Made a positive impact on students’ knowledge of and willingness to eat fresh, local, seasonal fruits and vegetables and nutritious recipes.
In FoodPrints classes, students experience real-world learning:

Nutrition: Learning how to choose nutrient-dense foods over energy-dense foods. Students compare packaged foods made primarily from white flour and sugar to homemade, nutrient-rich foods such as kale salad, basil pesto, and butternut squash soup.
Environmental Literacy: Studying the intricacies of composting. Students explore worms and their anatomy and role in our environment, compare decomposition rates of different materials buried in the garden, and manage on-site compost piles.
Math: Calculating perimeter and area of garden beds to determine how many bags of mulch are needed to cover the paths between beds in the school garden. Students also halve, double and triple recipes to prepare the correct amount for a class.
Where food comes from: Observing, studying, drawing, and reflecting on different kinds of plants and parts of plants. Students plant dry beans at the end of the school year and observe them through the fall as they turn from green leafy vines to dry plants with mature pods. They harvest the pods, shell the beans, soak them in class, and use them to prepare Three Sisters Tacos.
FoodPrints also extended our reach this school year by:

  • Partnering with DCPS to serve FoodPrints recipes in school cafeterias 
  • Being a part of the DC Edible Schoolyard team to bring new strategies for farm-to-school initiatives to DC
  • Contributing to the first STEAM certification of a DCPS elementary school -- at Kimball Elementary 
  • Hosting three full-time FoodCorps service members who worked to support FoodPrints programming and create healthier food environments at Tyler, Ludlow-Taylor, and Kimball elementary schools
  • Engaging with evaluation partners at George Mason University to evaluate FoodPrints programming and the DCPS/FoodPrints Cafeteria partnership

​We are grateful for the students, teachers, and administrators who partner with us, and all our generous funders that make this program possible. See you in the fall!
<![CDATA[Thank you to Washington’s Green Grocer for Supporting the FoodPrints Program!]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 18:08:45 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/thank-you-to-washingtons-green-grocer-for-supporting-the-foodprints-program​Washington’s Green Grocer is generously providing transport and storage services that allow us to get fresh produce from the farmers market to our partner schools each week. ​They've made it possible for more than 3,000 DC Public School children to have beautiful, local vegetables to supplement the produce they harvest from their school gardens to cook during FoodPrints classes.
​Each Sunday morning, FoodPrints teaching assistant, Danielle Tutrone, shops at the Dupont FRESHFARM market for produce students will chop, mix, and cook in their FoodPrints classes the coming week. 

Danielle is assisted  by a wonderful volunteer, Becca Blake, who spends 3 hours each Sunday sorting and packing the produce into coolers for each school. 
Keith Ross with Washington’s Green Grocer, picks up the coolers and takes them to the WGG refrigerated storage facility. 
This school year, Washington's Green Grocer has provided:
  • Pick up, storage and delivery of 4,536 pounds groceries 
  • 756 pick ups and drop offs 
  • 378 coolers delivered to 8 FoodPrints partner schools

Thank you Washington's Green Grocer!

> Learn more about Washington's Green Grocer, a delivery service of carefully curated goods.
<![CDATA[Connecting FoodPrints with School Cafeterias to Offer A Wider Variety of Fresh Recipes Familiar to Students]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/connecting-foodprints-with-school-cafeterias-to-offer-a-wider-variety-of-fresh-recipes-familiar-to-studentsDC Public Schools and FRESHFARM are partnering to offer, nutritious, seasonal recipes in school lunches. These are some of the same recipes students are preparing in their monthly FoodPrints classes.

In February, the Ludlow-Taylor and School Within School school cafeterias began serving two FoodPrints recipes every Wednesday.

In February and March, the FoodPrints entrees included Sweet Potato Quesadillas & Tuscan Kale Salad; Bean and Veggie Chili & Sauteed Kale with Lemon and Garlic; and Shepherd's Pie & Collards with Browned Onions.

After spring break, a new menu began that will run through the end of the school year. The spring recipes are Fried Rice & Spinach Salad; Crunchy Rosemary Lemon Chickpeas & Warm Potato Salad; Prosperity Peas with Collard Greens & French Carrot Salad. 

We hear praise from students and staff at the schools for the taste and variety of the FoodPrints meals. On a recent FoodPrints Day, a kindergartener at Ludlow-Taylor gave her friend across the table a “thumbs up” and a smile for the Crunchy Rosemary Lemon Chickpeas.  

​"We would gladly buy lunch at school every day if FoodPrints recipes were always on the menu," says Genevieve Sapir, mother of two at School Within School.

“It’s something tangible I can ask my child about his day. ‘Did you have chili for lunch?’ And he often asks me ‘Can we make this at home?’ about the FoodPrints recipes,” says Rikki Schmidle, parent at Ludlow-Taylor. The connection between FoodPrints and lunch has been one of the biggest wins this school year. It is such a good way to introduce nutritious foods starting young in a challenging urban environment.”

Rob Jaber, Food Service Director for DCPS and staunch supporter of the FoodPrints program and farm-to-school initiatives, is immersed in the connections made between the classroom and in the cafeteria. “This partnership captures the national trend of scratch cooking in school cafeterias: recipes made from scratch, on-site, that are fresher, appealing, and nutritious. All the partners have been key to the success of this initiative, and we’re excited about expansion possibilities next year and beyond in the future,” Jaber says.

FRESHFARM and DCPS Food and Nutrition Services are working alongside SodexoMagic, the school meals vendor, to ensure the recipes are prepared accurately and consistently, to be tasty and as close as possible to what the students are preparing in their FoodPrints classes.

At both schools, large photographs of students working in their school gardens and preparing the nutritious foods in teaching kitchens hang in the lunchrooms -- making further connections between school meals and FoodPrints

Behind this project is the theory that FoodPrints lessons -- academically enriching opportunities in which students to gain familiarity and comfort with these fresh, seasonal recipes and hands-on food and nutrition education -- combined with changes to the school cafeteria menu and environment will result in increased participation in the school meals program, more nutritious fresh options, and less waste. To meet these goals, DC Public Schools Division of Food and Nutrition Services and FRESHFARM have been building build greater connections between school gardens, the school meals program, and what is prepared in FoodPrints kitchen classrooms.
<![CDATA[Ludlow-Taylor Community Planting Day]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/ludlow-taylor-community-planting-dayOn a sunny spring Saturday morning in late April, the Ludlow-Taylor community came together to plant 20 strawberry plants and 60 asparagus plants, install 80 feet of row hoops to protect the plants, and spread 25 bags of mulch. About 50 people in all participated: 20 adults and even more students.
This was a community effort, with guidance from Ludlow-Taylor’s FoodPrints Lead Teacher Martine Hippolyte and FoodCorps member, Alex Olson, along with Master Gardener and longtime FoodPrints volunteer, Barbara Percival.

Rikki Schmidle was at the planting day with her Kindergartener and rising PK-3 student and was thrilled how families were engaged in planting as part of the FoodPrints program. “The day was wonderful,” she said. “Each member of the family had a job they could do, and we had a chance to get to know other families.”

All of the plants and supplies were provided with a grant from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which has generously supported FoodPrints over many years.

The new plants are perennials (they will grow year after year). Unlike other FoodPrints gardens, it’s possible to dedicate space to perennials in the new Ludlow-Taylor edible garden because of its size -- about 1000 square feet of planting area.
<![CDATA[Worms: Are they yucky or are they our friends?]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/worms-are-they-yucky-or-are-they-our-friendsDigging in the dirt. Finding worms. What fun for young children! But it’s also educational, as a springtime FoodPrints lesson demonstrates.

In this lesson, students learned about the world around them and the value of living things in the garden. They learned what composting is,why it’s important and the connection between worms and reducing food waste.

FoodPrints Lead Teacher, Jill Peralta, began the lesson at Tyler Elementary with a kindergarten class by reading Yucky Worms by Vivian French. In the book, a boy starts out thinking worms are “yucky” but with explanations from his grandmother about their form and functions, he ends up thinking of worms as his friends.
From Yucky Worms by Vivian French
As with most FoodPrints sessions, students rotated through four stations -- which allow all students to experience many types of hands-on learning. In this particular lesson on worms and composting, students:
  • Learned purpose and anatomy of worms by reading Yucky Worms
  • Dug in an empty garden bed looking for worms and holding and describing worms they found
  • Learned about the process of composting
  • Made a “compost stew” by drawing many types of food waste they could put into compost
  • Made their own worms with thumbprints and playdough
  • Chopped sweet potatoes, radishes, strawberries, and garlic
  • Ate salad and roasted sweet potatoes together
At the cooking station, students were engaged in chopping sweet potatoes and strawberries. Ms. Peralta shows them how to chop safely and in the right size for the recipe. One boy, after his turn with the garlic twister, exclaimed “It smells so good and spicy!”
Laura Chapa -- Kindergarten teacher in the Bilingual Immersion program at Tyler and also a member of the city’s Environmental Literacy Leadership Cadre -- says she sees students “become more respectful of worms and other living things” when they engage in lessons like this one. She sees value in the structure of the FoodPrints hands-on activities. “I love the creativity, and the children love the activities!” she says.

At the end of the lesson, Ms. Peralta discussed composting with the students. “It’s a way to reduce the amount of trash that goes in landfills and make rich soil that can feed gardens,” she explains. Then she and the students “feed the worms” by putting the leftover radish greens in the worm bin.

This lesson aligns with the Environmental Literacy Framework from the DC Office of State Superintendent of Schools (OSSE) and the Next Generation Science Standard Disciplinary Core Idea of Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems.

​Before they got up from the carpet to go to the tables to eat, classroom teacher Laura Chapa, asks the class, “Now, when you find worms are you going to say ewww or yuck?” “No!” says a chorus of voices. One child volunteered, “I have friends in the garden … under the soil.”   

The lesson ends with the children eating the spring salad and roasted sweet potatoes together. Many asked for seconds!
<![CDATA[FoodPrints is an Important Change Agent: Findings from George Mason University Researchers]]>Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:34:13 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/foodprints-is-an-important-change-agentBy Jenn Mampara, Director of Education

Evaluation of the FRESHFARM FoodPrints program suggests it is an important change agent, helping to positively frame children’s relationship to food, shape schools’ capacity for nutrition education, and support the broader academic mission of DCPS in its integration of subject standards into its food and garden curriculum. 

This is a core finding of a recent evaluation of FRESHFARM FoodPrints conducted by George Mason University Center for Social Science Research. Dr. Amy Best and undergraduate students Alexis Lehr and Kayla Peterson observed FoodPrints programming at two schools through the 2015-16 school year to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the program.

> Read the FRESHFARM Highlights of the GMU FoodPrints study
> Read the Executive Summary of the GMU researchers’ study of the FoodPrints program

Evidence from this evaluation suggests that FoodPrints is a feasible and sustainable program model for contemporary nutrition education and is able to successfully integrate subject standards into its curriculum.

Key findings of the GMU research include:
  • FoodPrints’ educators encouraged students to work collaboratively and engaged students by involving them in every step of the process. Classes offered child-centered, active learning opportunities. 
  • Lessons were focused on real world application of core subject matter concepts in math, science and language arts. Students practiced making predictions, evaluated the real world evidence before them, and were encouraged to draw conclusions based on evidence.
  • Lessons promoted a critical consumer literacy as a health strategy. Students learned strategies to be more scrutinizing consumers of the food. Lessons focused on how to read consumer labels for nutritional facts and how to identify deceptive advertising.
  • Observations suggested a deep level of student interest in trying new foods that promote body health. Appreciation of the foods prepared and tried was readily expressed openly by the vast majority of students and is perhaps the most persuasive piece of evidence in support of program impact. 
  • Given the curricular scaffolding of the FoodPrints program, which builds each year with reinforcement and content reviews, the greatest impact is likely to be realized longitudinally.
  • FoodPrints has impact beyond school. Findings from parent surveys suggests FoodPrints has had a positive impact on children’s knowledge of healthy foods and their willingness to eat healthy food at home; Interest in cooking nutritious food at home; and nutrition and cooking knowledge.

“Smells so good, so fresh,” offers a boy as the girl beside him pulls arugula from the stem.

- Watkins Elementary, May 26, 2016

“I love snap peas. They’re my favorite,” offers a kindergartener… “Look, peas!” screeches another boy. This is followed by an exuberant “purple carrots!” from a small girl sitting beside him.

- Francis Stevens, May 9, 2016

“Circling the answers didn’t seem to do justice for what a great program you all run. With a 3rd and 1st grade at Watkins and a pre-K -4 student at Peabody, we have had a lot of exposure to FoodPrints over the year. What has interested me is the longitudinal impact of the program. The curriculum builds on itself with each grade and the level of knowledge grows as well. I especially see that with my third grader. The language and respect you all have introduced around food has become an important and essential tool in our household. Nutrition and food choice is extremely important to us, and FoodPrints reinforces that approach in the school setting. It is common to hear ‘Don’t yuck my yums’ or for one of our kids to give a thumbs up/down/middle for a particular meal.”

- Parent survey response, which recognizes the cumulative impact of the FoodPrints program

<![CDATA[FoodPrints Partners with Washington’s Green Grocer to Supply Fresh Ingredients for Our Classes]]>Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:15:12 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/foodprints-partners-with-washingtons-green-grocerWashington’s Green Grocer -- a local food delivery service that sources local and seasonal products -- is generously partnering with FRESHFARM FoodPrints this school year. This partnership allows us to use ingredients grown by local farmers in every recipe students prepare.

Washington’s Green Grocer is a natural partner for FRESHFARM; we work with some of the same farmers and both strive to strengthen the local food system. WGG sources from over 100 Mid-Atlantic local growers and is committed to being DC's best farm-to-doorstep grocery delivery service.
Each week, our FoodPrints teachers compile a list of market ingredients needed for recipes they will prepare with students the coming week. Then, every Sunday morning, our lead shopper, Danielle Tutrone, purchases hundreds of dollars of ingredients at the Sunday Dupont FRESHFARM Market. She sorts everything into insulated coolers labeled with each school’s name and address. 
Washington’s Green Grocer comes by the Dupont Market each week to pick up cooler bags brimming with produce. They store the food overnight and deliver the bags to each of our eight partner schools on Monday morning.

Washington’s Green Grocer shares our commitment to providing healthy, local foods to the community. Their storage and delivery allows FoodPrints to cook more nutritious recipes with our students and to provides additional financial support to our local farmers. 

Thank you Washington’s Green Grocer!
<![CDATA[Our Connections with Schools Go Beyond FoodPrints Classes ]]>Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:57:14 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/our-connections-with-schools-go-beyond-foodprints-classesBy Ibti Vincent, FoodPrints Lead Teacher

Over the past year, I've had the pleasure of working with Karin Harrison, who in addition to being a fabulous special education teacher runs an after school club that attracts some of the most thoughtful and dynamic students at The School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens. Together, elementary and middle schoolers in the self-named Student Sustainability Corps have written (and won!) grants, presented at local conferences, built a retaining wall with community volunteers to ameliorate soil erosion in the front of the school, conducted bin surveys around the school and posted signs to improve recycling efforts throughout the building, and regularly helped me maintain the school's organic vegetable garden. How lucky am I to be a part of this school community and work with these smiling, conscientious young people?

Our connection is an also example of how our FoodPrints school garden extends to support after school and STEM-focused programming outside of FoodPrints classes.
The group also was responsible for constructing and installing a homemade chicken run for the laying hens that were housed at the school for a month this fall. The birds were pretty awesome, inspiring community goodwill and teaching urban kiddos about animal care, while also laying an egg a day and providing learning experiences for our FoodPrints classes.

Their efforts to improve our school community inspire me each day. Each Wednesday when I work with them, I wonder: how will they make me think, and make me smile, today? These students will no doubt go on to become leaders in their communities, to the benefit of us all.
Student Sustainability Corps members mulching and pruning kale in the Francis Stevens school garden
<![CDATA[FoodPrints Community Volunteers are Important and Appreciated ]]>Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:22:27 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/foodprints-community-volunteers-are-important-and-appreciatedAn important component of FoodPrints programming are the parent volunteers who help students garden and cook, and learn alongside students. But when parents aren’t able to attend, or when FoodPrints teachers need extra assistance, we’ve been fortunate to have community members volunteer to keep our gardens thriving and classrooms running smoothly. 

Below we share a few stories of our much appreciated community volunteers.

Elaine Swiedler, FoodPrints garden volunteer at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens

Elaine Swiedler volunteered each weekend over the summer and during the warm fall weekends of 2016 to keep the garden at Francis Stevens watered, weeded, and tended while students and FoodPrints staff were not in school. Volunteers like her are so valuable for us to be able to keep our FoodPrints school gardens vibrant and growing year round!

Last summer and this fall, I was a caretaker of the vegetable garden at Francis Stevens, keeping things growing when the students couldn’t be there to do it themselves. It was rewarding to see the progress of the plants from week to week, to build new raised beds, and to know that I was helping, albeit indirectly, kids learn about cooking, gardening, and personal and environmental health!
Elaine Swiedler, second from right, helped maintain the garden at Francis Stevens when students were away
The most rewarding part of this experience was interacting with members of the community who stopped to chat during my watering shifts at the garden.

Once, an elderly man who stopped to admire the garden said it was the highlight of his walk each day. Other days, passersby stopped to ask what a certain plant was or to share stories about their gardens or compare what they were growing with what was in front of the school. Even workers from a construction crew across the street stopped to chat. One wanted to know if we were growing mustard greens; another wanted to know if I had any tips for combatting the powdery mildew that was killing the pumpkin plant in his front yard. (Alas, I was unable to help much since he'd already heard about the only remedy that I knew of, which is spraying leaves with a diluted milk solution.)

Many people walked by without saying anything, but for those who did stop, it was only been positive. Caring for the garden and talking to people as they pass by made me feel more connected to my community, and reminded me that there are all types of gardeners and garden appreciators. We're not only educating the kids but learning from each other.

Jean Whaley, FoodPrints volunteer at School Within School

Jean Whaley is a regular volunteer with Toigo Farms at FRESHFARM Markets in Dupont Circle. She’s up early most Sundays to help the farmers put out and sell their produce. She can also be found at the Penn Quarter Market on Thursday afternoons, especially during peach season!

This fall, Jean also began volunteering regularly in the FoodPrints program SWS, where students spend a half-day in their FoodPrints sessions. In addition to gardening and academic content through lessons, writing and drawing, students prepare several recipes and eat lunch together. On a January day with the first graders at SWS, Jean helped prep the ingredients for Bean & Vegetable Chili and Wheat Berry Salad. She worked with the students to make the chili and stir it as it cooked on the stove.
Jean is dedicated to volunteering. She worked as the head of Americorps VISTA managing the national volunteer service program. Two of the other volunteers in the recent first grade FoodPrints class were VISTA volunteers in their younger years, which was an interesting connection to make with Jean over cooking and gardening!
<![CDATA[Seasonality: What grows in each season and why?]]>Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:01:32 GMThttp://freshfarm.org/foodprints-blog/seasonality-what-grows-in-each-season-and-whyOne of the keys to eating nutritious, fresh recipes is being aware of what produce grows best in which season.

When many of us can get produce from all over the world at any time of year -- and others have limited exposure to fresh produce -- it often takes a school garden, hands-on experiences with planting and harvesting, and experiences with preparing and eating in-season foods for children to understand and appreciate seasonal produce.

Knowledge and appreciation for seasonality is a core outcome of FoodPrints, underlined by the DC Environmental Literacy Framework, Common Core Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards -- all which expect students to recognize patterns, such as the cycle of the seasons.

Patterns is one of the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: "Patterns exist everywhere - in regularly occurring shapes or structures and in repeating events and relationships. For example, patterns are discernible in the symmetry of flowers and snowflakes, the cycling of the seasons, and the repeated base pairs of DNA."

In FoodPrints classes, students are introduced to seasonally appropriate foods each month. They grow these same foods in their school gardens, and use them in investigations and lessons aligned to the curriculum and standards.

For example, in October, students may study, cook, and eat broccoli and sweet potatoes. In May, they harvest radishes and carrots. The experience of seeing produce grow in their gardens reinforces seasonality: they understand why fragile strawberries and tomatoes don’t grow in the winter but hardier plants like kale and collards are able to survive the cold. 

Students in younger grades understand how plants change over time, how the garden changes over time and why. FoodPrints teachers encourage students to observe and describe -- both by drawing and writing -- what plants and animals need to survive.

As part of this lesson, 1st graders at School Within School drew their favorite fruit or vegetable in each season:
Older students create seasonality charts using pictures and planting/harvesting information from seed catalogs. They divide a poster board up into four sections, one for each season, and then fill them with food that is harvested in each season. They draw from their harvesting experiences in their school gardens to help guide their thinking. This project always generates important discussion about why strawberries can’t grow in our school gardens in Washington, DC in the winter, but there are plenty of strawberries in our grocery stores year round.
This fall, third graders at Tyler Elementary determined which ingredients in the recipes they were preparing were in season locally. They discussed FoodPrints class talked about the importance of buying local. Students said:
  • “We support local farmers when we shop at farmers markets." 
  • "Buying local cuts back on cost/fuel from trucks driving across the country.” 
  • "There’s less chemicals and pesticides used if the produce doesn't have to travel as far."
  • "Produce tastes fresher!"