Over the past years, EduCulture helped to develop the infrastructure for a dedicated locally grown school food stream for the Bainbridge Island School District lunch program. The program began with a “Taste” of Bainbridge in October, 2010, and graduated to a “Bite of Bainbridge” throughout the school year, serving an average of 1100 students per meal. The “Bites of Bainbridge” are made up of locally grown, student sown potatoes from our farm-school partnerships which are donated to the school lunch program. We have also helped broker locally grown corn and raspberries contracted with and purchased from Island farmers, including Akio Suyematsu, the last of the original Bainbridge farmers, and Bainbridge HS class of 1942, and Karen Selvar of Bainbridge Island Farms, Class of ’82.
Potatoes, locally grown and student sown at the EduCulture’s edible education plots, were featured in the “Bite of Bainbridge”. Students from Wilkes Elementary, Blakely Elementary, Ordway Elementary and Island Coop Preschool planted 1500 seed potatoes at Morales and Heyday Farms. More than 1700 pounds of organically grown potatoes were harvested and donated to the school and community food streams.
These potatoes were cultivated from seed to harvest through two farm-school programs developed by EduCulture. Wilkes Elementary, Orway Elementary, and Island Coop Preschool students grow their potatoes at Morales Farm, through a partnership with Butler Green Farms, Friends of the Farms and the City of Bainbridge Island – a model of public farmland, serving public education, to grow public produce. Students from Blakely Elementary grew their potatoes at Heyday Farm – a model of private farmland partnership with public education to grow public produce.
On these landscapes of learning, students practice math and social skills, study science and local heritage, and learn about food communities, from production and processing to consumption and recycling. During the potato harvest, students counted, weighed, sorted and cleaned what will be served in their school lunch program and what has brought back to their classrooms for curricular and culinary activities.
There have been more than 1000 students, teachers, kitchen and custodial staff, parents, farmers, interns, landowners, community leaders, supporters and volunteers involved in making these edible ed programs a reality. The EduCulture Project wants to thank the rest of our partners, who have helped our edible education programs reach another successful harvest that we can contribute to feeding our schools and community:
-Laughing Crow Farm
-Bainbridge Island Farms
-Bainbridge Island Vineyards
-Wilkes Elementary School
-Blakely Elementary School
-Ordway Elementary School
-Island Cooperative PreSchool
-Friends of the Farms
-City of Bainbridge Island
-Bainbridge Island School District Food and Nutrition Services
Special Thanks to Brian MacWhorter and his interns at Butler Green Farms for their special involvement in the food we are growing in our programs.
Special thanks to Patty Rounsley and her Food and Nutrition staff at the Bainbridge Island School District for arranging and preparing the special Bites of Bainbridge in 2011-12.