stories from the field

Exciting & impactful farm to school activities are happening all across Rhode Island!

Learn more & be inspired by these local success stories.

Submit a story about your farm to school happening so we can share it with others. It can be a locally-sourced cafeteria menu item or event, a successful farm-school distribution model, a school growing activity, garden or farm field trip, or a classroom lesson incorporating food & agriculture themes to name a few examples. But there are endless more and we’d love to know about yours!

APPLE CRUNCH!  By: Solange Morrissette, District Manager, Chartwells


Each year Chartwells celebrates Farm to School month with a crunch! In October of 2022 we celebrated at Lincoln High School with our annual Apple Crunch event but went beyond the low-hanging fruit! Some might think we were out of our tree when we offered an entrée at every station ( including pizza) that featured apples from Steere Farm in Smithfield. All of the meals were accompanied by apple based salads, breads and apple cider from Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield.

We invited Juli Stelmaszyk from Commerce RI to read a proclamation from the Governor declaring October RI F2S month! Our “orchard” of friends from Farm Fresh RI, Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition and Shri joined us, sharing valuable nutrition education with the students! At the end of the reading, all students were given a local apple and we yelled 1 2 3 CRUNCH, at which point everyone took a big healthy juicy bite of local apple!

BATTLING FOOD WASTE  By: Gina Armstrong, Principal, Rhodes Elementary in Cranston

 

In fall 2021, fifth grade students at Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School in Cranston, along with their classroom teachers, Mrs. Weber and Mrs. Pearson, started keeping track of the shocking amount of milk, fruit, yogurt, cereal, cereal bars and cheese sticks being thrown away in the cafeteria at breakfast. Close to 300 cartons of milk, 100 cartons of juice and 100 pieces of fruit were going in the garbage each week! 

Around this same time, Jim Corwin of the RI Schools Recycling Club approached our school with an opportunity to participate in his grant-funded food waste program. He trained staff and interested fifth grade students on reducing food waste, making students “Cafeteria Rangers” and giving them titles such as Green Leader, Landfill Captain, Recycling Captain, Compost Captain and Liquid Captain, to lead our new daily cafeteria protocols. Our student leaders helped other students pour out liquids and recycle their drink cartons, put their compostable trash into a bin, and store unused food in a refrigerator to be donated to a local food pantry. Within just a few weeks of starting the program, the amount of food waste at Rhodes decreased dramatically, down from 4 large garbage bags to 1! The compost will be used in the spring for the school’s garden.

We also looked at ways to avoid food waste in the first place. We joined forces with RI Healthy Schools Coalition, Farm Fresh RI and Aramark to conduct a cafeteria taste test to find a local food for the menu (in this case, yogurt-dipped local strawberries) that would be enjoyed and not wasted. The feedback from staff and students was incredibly positive, and we look forward to sampling other local foods with the students. Our students learned how to responsibly improve the environment by composting, recycling and donating extra food, and they modeled this for the younger students in the building, particularly fourth graders who will lead the program next year. And what better way to limit food waste than by finding tasty and healthy, locally sourced foods to add to our repertoire.

BATTLING FOOD WASTE  By: Gina Armstrong, Principal, Rhodes Elementary in Cranston

 

In fall 2021, fifth grade students at Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School in Cranston, along with their classroom teachers, Mrs. Weber and Mrs. Pearson, started keeping track of the shocking amount of milk, fruit, yogurt, cereal, cereal bars and cheese sticks being thrown away in the cafeteria at breakfast. Close to 300 cartons of milk, 100 cartons of juice and 100 pieces of fruit were going in the garbage each week! 

Around this same time, Jim Corwin of the RI Schools Recycling Club approached our school with an opportunity to participate in his grant-funded food waste program. He trained staff and interested fifth grade students on reducing food waste, making students “Cafeteria Rangers” and giving them titles such as Green Leader, Landfill Captain, Recycling Captain, Compost Captain and Liquid Captain, to lead our new daily cafeteria protocols. Our student leaders helped other students pour out liquids and recycle their drink cartons, put their compostable trash into a bin, and store unused food in a refrigerator to be donated to a local food pantry. Within just a few weeks of starting the program, the amount of food waste at Rhodes decreased dramatically, down from 4 large garbage bags to 1! The compost will be used in the spring for the school’s garden.

We also looked at ways to avoid food waste in the first place. We joined forces with RI Healthy Schools Coalition, Farm Fresh RI and Aramark to conduct a cafeteria taste test to find a local food for the menu (in this case, yogurt-dipped local strawberries) that would be enjoyed and not wasted. The feedback from staff and students was incredibly positive, and we look forward to sampling other local foods with the students. Our students learned how to responsibly improve the environment by composting, recycling and donating extra food, and they modeled this for the younger students in the building, particularly fourth graders who will lead the program next year. And what better way to limit food waste than by finding tasty and healthy, locally sourced foods to add to our repertoire.

FARM FRESH RI to CENTRAL FALLS  By: Caely Flynn, Innovations Teacher, Segue Institute for Learning, Central Falls


Volunteers from Farm Fresh Rhode Island joined our 7th and 8th grade students at the Segue Institute for Learning for teaching new science lessons.


For six weeks, FFRI guided our students in connecting science learning to their new school garden. Together, students grew vegetables and herbs from seedlings, learned about soil in the ocean state, how to grow a hydroponic system, and maintained their school garden!


The students ranked this experience as one of their favorites from the whole year, and are looking forward continuing this work in 2022-2023!