100% of K-5 Gloucester students harvested a combined 500 pounds of veggies in just two weeks during Fall Harvest Days this September as part of Backyard Growers' signature School Garden Program.
Students planted the crops last spring, parent volunteers watered them all summer, and students went back out to their school gardens this fall to harvest their vegetables. Students planted, grew, and harvested sugar pumpkins, carrots, beets, potatoes, beans, sunflowers, and both delicata and sweet dumpling squash.
The day after each harvest, school food service staff, parents, and Backyard Growers' service members roasted up the veggies for special cafeteria tasting events...and students LOVED it!
Speaking of the kids excitement, East Gloucester mother Dawn Sarrouf said, “I think they like them because they grew them.”
Backyard Growers partners with school communities, the Gloucester School Food Service Department, FoodCorps, and Mass LIFT to provide every preK-5th grade student 2 seed-to-fork experiences each school year.The program includes Salad Days, where students plant leaf lettuce varieties that they harvest and enjoy in June, and Fall Harvest Days, where each grade level plants a specific fall crop that is harvested and enjoyed in the cafeteria when students return in the fall. These Fall Harvest Day and Salad Days experiences help foster lifelong positive relationships with growing and eating fresh vegetables.
This year, special guests Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Councilman Bill Fonvielle, Superintendant Richard Safier, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Arthur Unobskey, Executive Director of The Open Door Julie LaFontaine, and Director of Distribution and Nutrition at The Open Door Jen Perry all stopped by to spend some time out in the gardens with the kids.
Check out the video Cape Ann TV made about the events here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=govIGtwmpTI