Over $250,000 has been raised by Food Roots to fund their Farm to School programming in Tillamook County for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. This funding comes from the USDA Farm to School Program, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, Tillamook County Creamery Association, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, The Ford Family Foundation, the Braemer Charitable Trust, the Juan Young Trust, and the Harbourton Foundation.
In addition to these funders, Food Roots received important support from the Tillamook, Neah-kah-Nie, and Nestucca Valley School Districts, Neskowin Valley School, FoodCorps, TLC Fibre Federal Credit Union, Offshore Grill & Coffee House, Salmonberry Saloon, Pacific Restaurant, Nehalem River Ranch, the Community 101 class at Tillamook High School, the Nehalem Bay Garden Club, the Kiwanis Club of Tillamook, and multiple individuals throughout Tillamook County. Food Roots could not accomplish these important educational activities without the above partners and supporters who have provided funding and support.
Food Roots’ Farm to School program has been growing and evolving for the past ten years and continues to build sustainability and strategic development, thanks to the community of supporters who understand the impacts for this programming for student well-being. The National Farm to School Network has summarized research that shows the benefits of Farm to School programming, including students’ preferences for fresh fruit and vegetables, improving performance in school and impacting positive social behavior. The programming provided is rooted in this research. They focus on hands-on activities that encourage inquiry and critical reasoning and prioritize activities that complement Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core ELA and math standards.
Food Roots will be partnering with six schools for the 2019-2020 school year to provided regular garden-based education. These schools include Nehalem Elementary, Garibaldi Grade School, Tillamook Junior High School, South Prairie Elementary, Nestucca Valley Elementary, and Neskowin Valley School. They anticipate working with 1,000 students each month and students will engage in the following programs: school-wide tasting tables in which all students have the opportunity to sample in-season, locally grown fruits and vegetables; regular in-classroom, garden-based lessons, utilizing on-site gardens and Food Roots comprehensive Garden Education Curriculum; farm and fishery field trips and farmer to classroom visits; and family engagement events at school.
Additionally, through Food Roots Farm to School programming, Food Roots will co-facilitate a cohort of Tillamook School District 9 teachers in the 2019-2020 school year to support their use of Project Based Learning in school gardens.
Finally, with a Local Salad Bar Project, Food Roots in working to support schools with local food procurement for school fund service. Over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, they will be helping schools pilot putting locally grown salad greens on the salad bar for lunches. By including locally grown foods in school meals, schools and farmers support each other and students benefit.
Food Roots works with the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network as its state hub lead for the north coast region; connecting school districts with local food producers and providing technical assistance for both local and regional food to cafeteria procurement and garden education resources.