Susquehanna Valley's commitment to the growing farm to school initiative in our region has gotten a big boost. A grant from the USDA-NIFA Food and Ag Service-Learning Program will help SV continue to cultivate our students' knowledge of and interest in gardening, food systems, and nutrition.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County partnered with Broome-Tioga BOCES School Nutrition Services and the Food and Health Network to secure the grant, totaling $218,315. Susquehanna Valley and seven other local districts will each receive $10,000 for essential garden materials, fostering the growth of school gardens and enriching educational opportunities for students.
Furthermore, the project creates a collaborative learning community within and between school districts, guiding the integration of garden knowledge into the school curricula.
School gardens serve as hands-on learning spaces where students can discover the joys of growing their own food while learning about food systems, nutrition, and sustainability. The USDA-NIFA-FASLP grant’s primary goal is to increase the knowledge of agricultural science and improve the nutritional health of children.
Susquehanna Valley and other participating schools will receive specialized training from New York State Ag in the Classroom, focusing on the effective use of growing towers and racks to optimize garden spaces and maximize yields. In addition, this project sows the seeds for partnerships with Binghamton University and the Rural Health Service Corps, which will not only benefit the participating school districts but also offer opportunities for college students to explore and develop interests in diverse fields, including agriculture, nutrition, and education.
The positive impact of this grant extends beyond the school garden itself. It promotes agricultural education, fosters a deeper understanding of the importance of local food production, and encourages healthier eating habits among young people.
For more information about the grant and the Farm to School program, contact Tara Kenyon, CCE-BC’s Associate Director of Programs, at 607-772-8953 or [email protected].