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Farm to school program offers school garden kits

The Daily Ardmoreite

Now through March 1, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Farm to School program is accepting applications for school garden kits on behalf of the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

The primary aim of these school gardens is to not only promote healthy eating habits, but also educate students on where their food comes from and how to produce that food themselves. The Farm to School program will partner with four public schools and three Early Childhood Centers to provide garden kits for the schools.

The kits will include everything needed to build, grow and maintain the garden. Each school selected to participate in the two-year program will receive a stipend for a garden coordinator.

“School gardens provide the opportunity for children to consume more fruits and vegetables, but more importantly, to learn about how they grow, how they are harvested and how to prepare them,” said Farm to School Coordinator, Cheri Long.

The application can be found at okfarmtoschool.com and will be due electronically March 1 to Cheri Long at cheri.long@ag.ok.gov. Along with the completed application, please include a signed letter of support from administration and photos of the area where the garden will be placed or explanation of plan to obtain space. Please include the available square footage, water access, space for learning and area where your space is located.

For more information or questions regarding the application process, please visit okfarmtoschool.com or call Cheri Long at 405.249.9234.

Let’s Get Crowing a School Garden

2021 Project Application

It is proven that when paired with a school garden program, students are more likely to prefer and consume more fruits and vegetables. Four school and three early childhood education centers will be accepted into this project as part of a federal grant project obtained through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. This exciting opportunity presented by Oklahoma Farm to School will promote healthier eating through experiential learning by providing the supplies and tools needed to build and maintain a learning garden. In addition, this project will fund an instructor for a two-year period. This project is supported with resources from Ag in the Classroom, Farm to School, Jr. Master Gardener, as well as knowledgeable teachers and garden educators that will be able to help students gain a better understanding of not only where their food comes from but, also how to make healthier food choices.

Timeline

Application opens – January 11, 2021

Application Deadline – March 1, 2021

Review Period – March 1-May 1, 2021

Notification to all applicants – May 15, 2021

Eligibility

Garden must be an edible educational garden (growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.).

Garden must be on campus of school or organization

Garden must be accessible to all students.

Applicant must be one of the following:

A non-profit K-12 school (public, private or charter, elementary, middle or high)

An Early Childhood Education Center (daycares, pre-schools, public or private)

Organization must regularly engage at least 10-20 children in any grade range of K-12 at the garden.

Application Process and Notification

All applications can be filled out online on the Farm to School Website: www.okfarmtoschool.com or printed and mailed in to the Oklahoma State Dept. of Agriculture.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

2800 N. Lincoln Blvd. OKC, OK 73105

Attention: Cheri Long with Farm to School

Needed to Apply

Completed application

Signed Letter of Support from administration such as principal or executive director

Photos of area where garden will be placed or explanation of plan to obtain space. Give us your available square footage, water access, space for learning and area where your space is located. 

Application is due March 1, 2021

Send to: cheri.long@ag.ok.gov

You will receive email confirmation that your application has been received. All applicants, regardless of status will be notified by May 15, 2021.

Supply List for sites receiving this project

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry is the state’s core partner for the National Farm to School Program. School gardens are on the pillars of this program and as such, are a priority for Oklahoma’s Farm to School program to promote. School gardens provide the opportunity for children to consume more fruits and vegetables, but more importantly, to learn about how to grow, harvest and prepare them. In addition to growing food that can be used in cafeterias, demonstrations and special events, participating in a school garden has the potential to inspire children to encourage their parents and guardians to purchase more fruits and vegetables when grocery shopping.

In an effort to make this project as accessible as possible for schools and ECE’s, ODAFF will provide the following for each grant award recipient:

Stipend for a school garden coordinator $2000 per year for two years.

Resources from Farm to School and Ag in the Classroom

School Garden Curriculum from the Jr. Master Gardener program

Signage for garden beds

Schools will receive materials for 4 raised garden beds. Each bed will be 4 x 4

ECE Sites will receive materials for 3 raised garden beds. Each bed will be 4 x 4

(Each bed is 12 inches tall and the wood is 1.5 inches thick. The precut beds comes with pre-cut weed barrier. No tools needed.)

Garden supplies:

Soil

Fertilizer

2 Water hoses

2 Watering wands

3 Hand spades

2 Shovels

2 Pruning shears

Harvesting buckets

1 Wheel barrow

Instructor/student supplies:

1 Handwashing station

Children’s garden gloves – Set of 30

Adult garden gloves – Set of 15

Various plants and seeds- Each bed can hold up to 32 plants. Plants each site will receive will be edible plants that can and will be harvested to be used in the school’s cafeteria, classroom taste tests or other events involving food from the garden.