Farm to School
Our interactive food and nutrition education programs make eating healthy food fun for students of all ages. Through our programs, BVSD kids learn where food comes from, what fresh food tastes like, and even how to grow and cook their own food.
- Rainbow Days
- Harvest of the Month
- Farmer Visits
- Chef Demonstrations
- Farm Field Trips
- Calendar and Poster Art Contests
- Garden as a Classroom
- Food Waste Warriors
Tastings provide an opportunity for students to try samples of our menu items and Harvest of the Month featured produce.
Volunteers at tasting events provide healthy food samples called “tasters” to our students. These tasters allow the kids to try our food without paying for a full meal. Tasters are handed out early in the week to introduce students to the menu item that is served later in the week, ideally the next day.
Getting feedback on their likes and dislikes becomes a vital part of the School Food Project's menu planning. We consider all feedback we receive and use that information to help guide menu selection in the cafeteria. We hope the students enjoy the tasters and we see increased school lunch purchases for the menu items sampled!
Rainbow Days are a special event we hold in each elementary school in the district where everyone in the school gets to make a salad at the salad bar for free! We challenge the students to “Make a Rainbow” on their tray, and take and eat at least 3 colors of fruits and vegetables. Volunteers are stationed at the salad bar to encourage the students to try new things and “Eat a Rainbow”. Getting three colors can sometimes be a challenge for the students, but with a little extra encouragement, and the incentive of a sticker, they are willing to be adventurous. Rainbow Days are high energy and sometimes a little chaotic, but the students love it and it is a great way to generate excitement about the salad bar!
Our nutrition education program is built around the Harvest of the Month (HOTM), which celebrates the seasonality of local foods. Our HOTM menu items (noted by a tractor on the printed menu) and tasting programs cultivate students' understanding and appreciation of the foods grown in Colorado.
Watch for HOTM posters in cafeterias, Harvest Collector Cards and HOTM stickers and bracelets for our elementary students and local produce on our menu and salad bars each month. Elementary students may receive a Harvest card, sticker or bracelet when they try the HOTM item. We encourage students to take their cards home and talk about the fruit/veggie or local farm with their families. Harvest Collector Cards are used in various ways by teachers, schools and Food Services to offer prizes for students
Make them at home!
Because we think our Harvest of the Month recipes are so delicious, we wanted to share them with you! Visit our Recipes page for HOTM recipes and more.
Farm Field Trips provide hands on experience for students to learn about farm operations, where food comes from and how it is grown. Students in Boulder Valley School District have the opportunity to choose local food every day by selecting school breakfast or lunch, however many do not understand what that means because they have never seen a farm near their homes or schools. A class field trip to a local farm is an excellent way to connect school lunches, gardens, and local farms. Curricular connections are endless, and the hands-on experience for students, teachers, and parent volunteers alike can be life-changing.
We have a grant to send BVSD students of all ages on farm field trips. Know a teacher who might be interested? Please share this link.
Please submit your requests asap. We are now scheduling through September 30, 2019. These field trips are made possible by a grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's Local Food Promotion Program.
Through our annual Calendar and Poster Art Contests, students show what local food means to our kids. Our printed menu calendar features art created by students depicting locally grown foods and what they think is most important about farm to school.
Each January, visual art teachers are invited to enter their classes into the calendar art contest. If your student would like to participate, please ask your art teacher to keep an eye out for that announcement.
School gardens have a variety of functions, and several unexpected benefits. Along with providing an “outdoor classroom” where student experiments and learning activities can be hosted, participation in the planting, growing, and harvesting of crops in a school garden has been shown to increase a student’s willingness to try new vegetables, and generates learning about healthy diets and activities. Additionally, harvested produce can be used in school cafeterias; it can also be sold—either as part of a lesson in economics within the social studies curriculum or simply to raise funds.
In 2015, BVSD published a Garden as a Classroom Curriculum Manual with resources, tips and tools to start or maintain a school garden and incorporate it into the classroom.
Food Services took over BVSD's largest greenhouse in 2016 after the greenhouse management program closed at CTEC. Instead of allowing the greenhouse to sit empty, we decided to start growing plants for school gardens and our annual Plant & Seed Sale. What started out as a small experiment has now grown into an amazing opportunity to support farm to school programs in BVSD.
This year, we are excited to embark on the next phase of the greenhouse thanks to a grant from the USDA Farm to School program. Over the next two years, we plan to transform the greenhouse into a year-round facility providing opportunities for schools without gardens to partake in hands-on learning activities at the greenhouse.
In spring 2019, BVSD conducted a comprehensive food waste study at five schools. Students collected data and helped to implement ways to help reduce food waste at their schools and through the district.
A food study takes place over six different school lunch periods during the semester. Students and teachers help them sort waste into eight different categories, before weighing and disposing of the compost, recycling and landfill. The data gives insights into how much food is wasted and can be used to implement further math, science, communications and art projects to help reduce food waste within their school building.
“Be a Food Waste Warrior” is a three-part science and math lesson from the World Wildlife Fund that can be adjusted in complexity depending on grade level. (It was created for grades 5-12, but more advanced classes in grades 3 and 4 could handle it, too.) The toolkit includes food waste audit log sheets, discussion questions, a companion PowerPoint, and additional teacher resources and materials.
Students will learn about the ways in which food impacts the environment by recording data from a student food waste audit during their lunch period. The audit will engage basic science and math skills to (1) convert food waste weights to water used and GHGs emitted, and (2) calculate the difference in GHG emissions depending on whether food waste is landfilled or composted. Participating students will ultimately understand how to reduce food waste and why reducing food waste is important to conserving natural resources and wildlife habitat.
Conduct food waste audits to contribute to the first complete dataset of cafeteria food waste in the country.
Identify any food waste behavior changes among students between the first and follow-up food waste audits as a result of the in-class lessons.
Develop lesson plans to contribute to an expanded Food Waste Warriors toolkit.
"We love the Farm-to-School Program, and we really enjoy how much our son loves the lunch and is willing to eat it happily."