Edible Education Programs & Farm-School Partnerships

Our edible education programs bridge local farms, classrooms, lunchrooms, and the larger food community fostering scholarship, stewardship, citizenship and sustainability. EduCulture partners schools and farms, transforming working landscapes into landscapes of learning, and utilizing our community as curriculum. The programs we offer serve academic needs, while growing produce for school and community food streams. In the process, we are contributing to the preservation of local sustainable agriculture, nurturing farm stewardship and food citizenship, and inspiring young people to become co-producers in their food communities.

Kids next to field

Edible Education encompasses the entire way we think about food in schools, from wellness policies to the quality of school lunch, from the content of core curriculum to career and technical education, from school gardens to food waste recycling, and from the ecology of a school campus to our wider food community. It is one area of education that threads through all aspects of school culture, from what and where students learn to what they eat, to how they recycle. Just as our school food chains reflect the wider community food chains that support them, so does the culture of the curriculum have the opportunity to connect with the culture of the school and the wider community.

In the 21st century, edible education has become the vanguard and crossroads of many fields of education, from environmental to sustainability, social to global, experiential to vocational, outdoor to horticultural, health and nutrition to school lunch reform. Food is a topic of study that can be found across the curriculum and embedded, implicitly and explicitly, across standards and grade levels. Its roots in American education date back a century to the development of home economics. The rationales for edible education have been found in over a century of learning theories, from the work of John Dewey to Howard Gardner. Regionally, we see its import in OSPI’s development of a teaching endorsement and learning for Environmental and Sustainability Education, the Curriculum for the Bioregion movement in WA State higher education, and the Local Farms-Healthy Kids Act passed by the WA State Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2008.

In 1900, the educator John Dewey suggested that the “school itself shall be made a genuine form of active community life, instead of place set apart in which to learn lessons” (School and Society). More than a century later, his wisdom still rings true. Edible Education is about enhancing and enriching school and community wellness by connecting place and taste to how we live, eat and learn.

Our student centered programs serve thousands of primary, elementary and secondary students throughout the school year on farm and heritage education sites throughout Bainbridge Island. We offer farm tours, field study classes, farm to fork programs, extension opportunities with our community partners. Food from these programs is locally grown and student sown, by hand, with simple tools, and the oversight of master & junior farmers.

Over the past five years, our farm-school partnerships have grown to include Island Cooperative Preschool, and Wilkes, Blakely and Ordway Elementary Schools. Pairing with our master farmers at Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms, Butler Green Farms at Morales, and Heyday Farm.

Programs and registration are ongoing throughout the year. Our programs are versatile and accommodating to fit your students, their academic needs, and your educational experiential goals.

Here is a sample of current and past programs, with new ones continually developing.

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Suyematsu Farm Pumpkin Patch 

Students pick their own pumpkin and weigh them.

Potato harvest for Bite of Bainbrige

“Bite of Bainbridge”

In 2010, we broke new local grown ground by starting the “Bite of Bainbridge” program with the Bainbridge Is. District. Each year, hundreds of pounds of produce- corn, potatoes and raspberries- grown by students and local farmers are featured in the school lunch program.

Eggs

Follow the Egg

Blakely Elementary students visiting Heyday Farm learn about chickens; their anatomy, behavior, and care they require. Students get up close to the large chicken tractors, collecting eggs from the nest boxes, tracking the egg from field to package. This trip is a rich opportunity to connect the food we see in stores and at markets to the animal and environment they come from. See a slideshow from Ms. Keller’s class.

planting potatoes

Potatoes: planting to harvest

Just like our master farmers, students plant heirloom seed potatoes up rows. They practice measuring between plants and between rows, planting methods, continued maintenance, and harvesting techniques. The potato harvest is especially exciting as students connect their efforts in the field to their immediate food system, their school lunches. Harvested potatoes are used in Bainbridge Island school lunches as part of the “Bite of Bainbridge” program.

historical tour SBFF

Historic Tour of Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms

Students take a walking tour through Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms, the oldest working landscape on Bainbridge Island.  Students get hands on experience with the historic tools and buildings the Suyematsu family used for farming. A strong emphasis is placed on the Japanese American internment during WWII, specifically how the Suyematsu family and other Bainbridge Island families were affected. For more concentrated programs regarding Japanese American internment please see our Only What We Can Carry project. 

To learn more about these programs, fees, and registration,
please contact  EduCulture Project, or call 206-780-5797