“We all loved the event… Most students were surprised to see the strawberry plant and lettuce that was ready to eat, even while it was planted. Overall, it was a fabulous experience and has given us the confidence and excitement to try highlighting produce often served at lunch to increase student interest in their food.” – Ashley, teacher at Marie Reed Elementary School
Want to guess what was served on school cafeteria trays in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 25th? Dark green leafy lettuces and juicy red strawberries - all from local farms, fresh and unprocessed – were happily gobbled up by D.C. students. This was a part of the second annual Strawberries & Salad Greens Day hosted by the D.C. Farm to School Network - which is now an initiative of the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture!
"The strawberries are so tasty, are we going to have them again tomorrow?" – Student, Oyster-Adams Upper School
Approximately 150 schools in Washington, DC served local berries and greens on their menus, in dishes like spinach and feta salad with a strawberry vinaigrette, and lettuce salad with radishes and carrots with strawberries on the side. In 32 schools spanning all 8 wards of the city, D.C. Farm to School Network volunteers engaged students at educational “Where Food Comes From” tables in the cafeterias, just after they got their meals. Students were able to make the connection that the fresh food on their trays grew on nearby farms, by checking out strawberry and lettuce plants, seeds, farm pictures, maps, and seasonality charts. A few schools blogged about their experiences - at Stoddert Elementary, H.D. Cooke Elementary, Bancroft Elementary and Thomas Elementary
. Farmer Mo and Intern Beverly had a table at D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School.
“I think my favorite moment was when we were showing around strawberry seeds and explaining how just one seed grows up into a plant that produces many strawberries. A little girl looked at my handful of seeds and then up at my face with her eyes wide, shaking her head in disbelief, and said, ‘I did not know that!’” – Sam, Volunteer at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary
The event was made possible by a number of partnerships, collaborations and volunteers. The adorable stickers were donated by Sweetgreen; the beautiful banners by Whole Foods; and the plants by Kilmer’s Farm, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, and the Farm at Walker Jones, and we owe heartfelt thanks to the many other volunteers contributed. Learn more about the D.C. Farm to School Network here.