Thursday, January 23, 2014

Safe handling training means safer home-grown greens

It's one thing to grow fruits and vegetables on campus, but knowing that San Diego Unified School District's cafeterias abide by strict heath standards means special training to ensure that school grown food makes it to campus tables, part of the Garden to Café program.

Tending the garden “This program really helps make the seed to table connection for students, they help grow and care for their school garden and then can feel proud of the bounty they are sharing with their fellow classmates” says Ashley Cassat, Farm to School Specialist in charge of the District’s Garden to Café program.

Recent training brought staff members from 35 schools together with school volunteers and community members to learn about safe food handling from farm to school. Attendees learned about the Garden to Café Protocol, food safety requirements to grow produce for school salad bars and received resources to help them connect their gardens to classroom learning. Thanks to funding from the County of San Diego, Community Transformation Grant participants received the Growing Classroom, Garden Based Science Curriculum, which is aligned to the Common Core Standards.

The Garden to Café program allows fresh garden-grown food from school gardens to be served as part of the school meal program and provides students an opportunity to learn where their food is grown.

“Our goal is to have many more schools participate in the program.” For more information about the Garden to Café program, please visit the district website at or contact Ashley Cassat, Farm to School Specialist at .