Farm-to-School Fair

By DKrause on Oct 21, 2013

Understanding the importance of local produce is beneficial for everyone. This activity can begin with students growing vegetables, fruits and herbs, seeing them incorporated into food to eat, and having a hands-on fair to share that knowledge with others. People throughout the school can participate by coming to the fair and taking part in the activities. Including local farmers and produce managers further emphasizes the farm-to-table message. Lessons include Math, English Language Arts, Social Skills and Independent Living Skills.

Materials

  • Herbs, vegetables and fruits harvested from student gardensbaby dwarf goat
  • Foods created using those herbs, vegetables and fruits such as:
    • Mint tea, homemade salsa, pizza, falafel, smoothies
  • Local farmers and produce managers (ones that the school orders through) willing to share their produce and knowledge
  • Items for different hands-on activities as needed. Some examples:
    • Apples, slicers, lemon juice, paper plates for apple drying activity (dried apples can later be eaten for snack)
    • Mint, fresh for using in recipes, dried for making teabags (for iced or hot tea)
    • Rosemary, for a similar activity to the mint

Procedure

Welcome table

  • Have a table to welcome guests, with food-related stickers, a handout on the ten reasons to use local produce, and a guide to the other tables and garden.
  • Use this table to discuss:
    • What is a farm? Is there a farm near your family’s house?
    • Why is it important to use local produce? What does local mean? What is produce?
    • Where does the food services manager order the produce from?
    • What fruits, vegetables and herbs are being grown in the school garden? What do you grow at home?

Farmers Table

  • Invite your local produce manager to man the table, along with some produce for students to touch and smell.
  • Invite a local farmer to come and do the same. He/she can bring produce, or small livestock (goats, rabbits, etc.) for students to touch, smell and learn about.
  • Encourage students to ask questions, such as: “How is farm produce different from store bought produce?” “How are farm crops grown?” “Which plants in our student garden were used to make food at today’s fair?”

Tasting Tables

  • Make food items from local produce, or produce grown in the student gardens, such as: iced tea (fresh mint leaves), smoothies (fruit), mint chocolate chip cookies (dried mint leaves), salsa (tomatoes), falafel (fresh parsley leaves), pizza (basil and thyme leaves), herbed goat cheese.
  • Ask students to find the vegetable, fruit and herb plants in the student gardens used to make the food on the table.
    • Create a “treasure hunt” with steps that encourage the students to explore the garden and locate and identify the different plants.
  • Make a handout of the recipes of the food at the tasting table.Table of food
  • Discuss with the students what foods can be created from herbs and plants harvested from the garden.

Variations

  • Have fewer or more tables, as time and complexity allows.
  • Create a spring fair and a fall fair, to take advantage of the produce that grows at different times of year.

Hint: Connect with local farmers throughout the year to connect the classroom with real-world activity.