Farm to School is a broad category of programming that can be tailored to a school’s specific needs. It can include serving local foods in the cafeteria, taste tests, field trips, classroom education, gardens, hands-on experiences, and more. Farm to School is an evidence-based method for developing lifelong nourishing habits in students and building economic vitality in our communities. Read here to learn more about the benefits of Farm to School.
Waukee Community School District received two Farm to School grants from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems in 2018 and 2021 to create an action plan and implement Farm to School in the district. Both grants concluded by June 2023, and the District’s Action Plan (from the Planning Grant process) for Farm to School work going forward is linked below along with other resources about Farm to School.
In 2023, Waukee’s Farm to School program was honored with a Harkin on Wellness Designation for its work to improve the lives and health of students. Shuler Elementary was also awarded the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition’s Golden Root Award for excellence in Farm to School efforts.
Below are the foundational statements that encompass our District’s Farm to School work and set the stage for our program:
Purpose Statement (Our Why):
Waukee Farm to School cultivates curiosity, connection, and appreciation for food, health, agriculture, and the local food system through interactive, integrated, and innovative experiences.
We offer students and families space to explore their environment and the natural world, inspire awe, nurture lifelong nourishing habits, empower themselves and the community, and give them a place to belong.
Mission Statement (What We Do):
Waukee Community School District’s Farm to School program will provide opportunities for all students and the community to:
- Discover agriculture through interactive experiences,
- Connect to the local food system,
- Deepen their curiosity of the natural world, and
- Discover how to nourish their bodies so they can thrive beyond the years they spend in school.
Values Statements (What’s Important In Our Work):
- Innovative – We are challenging the norms of how students are taught. Knowledge, understanding, and skills are developed through practical experiences that reinforce academic concepts.
- Community-building – Farm to School doesn’t just exist within our buildings or our district. Learning is shared, ideas are spread, and the community as a whole benefits from the work.
- Sense of belonging – Everyone has a role to play in our world, just like in nature. Every job is important, from the person who pulls the weeds to the person who harvests the produce, and each of us has an impact on our greater ecosystem.
- Believing in possibilities and hope for the future – Believing that the seeds planted today in the minds of students will sprout, bloom, and grow fruit for their futures.
If you want to learn more or partner with our program, please email Kaitlyn Scheuermann, MPP-D, RDN, LD. We also have a newsletter list where you can receive updates about our program. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.