FamilyFarmed is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.
Despite the obvious benefits of having children grow edible, organic gardens, many foodservice companies are reluctant to serve garden produce because of food safety concerns. This hinders the process of incorporating school garden education into the general curriculum and makes it harder for students to make the necessary connections between growing and eating healthy food.
To solve this issue, FamilyFarmed.org created Eat What You Grow! A School Garden Food Safety Manual for Chicago Public Schools which allows school garden operators to put in place protocols to minimize food safety risks. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, this resource was completed and implemented in pilot school gardens. The manual contains information, step-by-step instructions, and record keeping materials to allow school garden operators to make sure their produce meets high food safety standards. This manual will allow gardening, nutrition, food safety, and health to become fully integrated parts of the Chicago Public Schools curriculum. As a result of the 2013 pilot project, CPS garden-grown produce has been served in school meals for the very first time!
We were able to complete this project with generous support from Healthy Schools Campaign, School Food FOCUS, Clif Bar Family Foundation, the USDA Farm to School Program, Chicago Public Schools, and an anonymous donor.
The first school garden grown produce from five pilot schools was served in cafeterias in spring 2013, and the program is rolling out to more CPS locations in fall 2013. We hope to roll the project out nationally in the coming years so that school children all over the country can eat what they grow!