The Badger High School-Lake Geneva Schools Farm to School Program began in 2011 as a branched segment of the Wisconsin Green and Healthy Schools Program. An an advisory committee began investigating ways to become more eco-friendly and improve the school nutrition/meal program through the segment of healthy lifestyles. Local business members, teachers, administration, nutritional directors, and students began investigating ways to improve school lunch which in essence launched the school’s first Farm to School Program. The Farm to School program is supported by the Badger FFA, Badger Eco Club, and the Badger ProStart Culinary Program.
The National Farm to School Program is a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers. Since each Farm to School program is shaped by its unique community and region, the National Farm to School Network does not prescribe or impose a list of practices or products for the Farm to School approach. the network includes national staff, regional lead agencies, and leads as well as programs in all 50 states. For more information on the National Farm to School Program, please visitwww.farmtoschool.org
Badger High School’s Farm to School program is currently committed to several projects:
– Vertical farming lettuce and tomatoes in one of the school’s greenhouse structures to provide fresh produce in the school lunch salad/sub line. This incorporates locally grown food that is better for the students since it is often fresher and provides increased nutritional value. The goal of this project is to provide students with learning resources as well as hopefully decreasing obesity of our student body through healthier food options.
-Students in Agriscience and Science classes in grades 9-12 are learning more about their food supply, take ownership in raising their own food through the USDA example project of “Know your Farmer, Know your Food”, as well as option their horizons to new food options.
-Students in the environmental awareness class are focusing efforts in raising local micro-greens and herbs for the culinary program and school lunch program.
-Several agricultural science class students are learning how to compost their waste food scraps and paper by vermicomposting, or in other words, decomposing waste using worms into nutritious compost for the school and community gardens.
-The Badger FFA assists with managing and support of the school district’s community garden sites. The community gardens were started in 2011 as a route for families and community members to raise their own vegetable garden even if they could not at their home. Over 50 plots are laid out, labelled, tilled, and cleaned up by our FFA members. They help with gardener questions, compost bin turning, and even landscape under the sign at the garden site. They help landscape around the space, move compost, and work the earth as a part of their annual Day of Service event each May. The FFA’s plant sale also provides each community gardener a $5 gift certificate for vegetable plants to get their gardens started.
-We are attempting to source local foods that could be served through a “harvest of the month” program next school year such as apples, spinach, etc.
The Badger FFA has been very fortunate to receive several grants that have assisted in implementation and progress of this project:
-Monsanto Rural Farmers Grow Education-Vertical farming equipment/supplies and greenhouse lighting/structures
-Wisconsin FFA Foundation- Vertical farming equipment
-Wisconsin Ag In the Classroom- Vermiculture supplies and apiculture (bee keeping) suit
-Walmart Foundation- Greenhouse
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-Blue Jackets FFA Foundation Chapter Program- Donation from Bill and Vickie York- Greenhouse supplies for raising produce
For news articles and press about the Badger Farm To School Program, please visit the following sites:
-RFD TV’s FFA Chapter Tribute- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBz4s7rQbw
-Walworth County Sunday and Gazette’s press article “Badger HS students growing knowledge and food”- http://walworth.www.clients.ellingtoncms.com/news/2013/feb/17/badger-hs-students-grownig-knowledge–and-food/
-Gazette article “Worms teach all about science”- http://gazettextra.com/news/2012/jan/09/worms-teach-all-about-science-vermiculture-classro/