Oak Grove School: Graton

Grades K-5 garden once per week in the outdoor classroom. Students plant seeds, tend plants and harvest food while learning the origins of particular crops, their historical uses and nutritional values. In addition to a dozen raised beds and containers in the main garden, there is a raised garden bed outside each of the 12 classrooms. Subjects such as math, science and social studies are incorporated into the garden experience. Children also learn the lessons of good nutrition and health through direct experience between the crops they grow and the food they eat.

With the SGN Salad Bar grant (2007-2009), a Salad Bar Coordinator was hired to work closely with the Garden Coordinator in order to bring more food from the garden to the table. Salad greens, fava beans, broccoli, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, leeks, potatoes, cabbage and carrots are harvested from the school garden. The salad bar coordinator organizes student and parent volunteers to help prepare and serve hearty soups and salads that supplement school lunches. The coordinator also communicates with local farmers who deliver supplemental produce to the school and, on occasion, help out in the kitchen.

With one classroom per week involved hands-on in the kitchen, it is estimated that 80-100% of the salad bar is consumed by students! Minestrone soup, pesto pasta and hard-boiled eggs with salad are a few favorites. The school’s exemplary compost and recycling program uses biodegradable plates, bowls and utensils purchased with the grant. This successful program is now self sufficient through fundraising by the school, including an annual silent auction and plant sales from Willowside School.