The Food Project announced an expanded Salad Days partnership with the Lynn public schools was a huge success with almost 1,200 students participating this year.
This spring, The Food Project’s Root Crew and Dirt Crew built raised-bed gardens at five additional elementary schools in the city to bring the number of schools served by gardens to eight.
Following a model started by Gloucester’s Backyard Growers, The Food Project has been working with the Lynn school system to expand Salad Days, with the goal of building a garden at every elementary school in the city.
Salad Days is a hands-on opportunity for every third grader to plant lettuce seeds, tend the garden, watch their plants come to life, and, six weeks later, harvest the greens to eat. This structure ties into classroom curriculum on nutrition that might otherwise feel uninteresting or abstract while providing young people a way to connect with their food.
The project began last year with The Food Project’s FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member, Jenn Coverdale running Salad Days for the first time at Ford, Ingalls, and Callahan Elementary schools. This year, The Food Project met with Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham, who, by the end of the meeting, felt that the Salad Days model was a unique and effective way to better involve students in learning about healthy eating and where their food comes from. She eventually hopes to have every third grader in the district participate.
“There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from staff, administrators, and students for this simple ‘seed to fork’ experience,” Coverdale said.
Salad Days brings together youth, food, and community. It not only introduces the concepts of garden-fresh food to many students, but also inspires a love of fresh vegetables and gardening, while creating healthy eating habits that The Food Project hopes will last a lifetime.
Since its founding in 1991, The Food Project has grown into a nationally-recognized non-profit organization that works at the intersection of youth, food, and community. For more than 26 years, it has brought youth and adults from diverse backgrounds together on their farms to grow healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs to build a local and sustainable food system.