It's a true hands-on learning experience. It's a chance for students at Northern high school to dig into the subject matter…literally.
Samantha Latchaw a senior at Northern H.S., said, “I like getting down and dirty and just having fun with knowing that I'm making something that everyone else can enjoy.”
It's part of a national farm-to-school program that encourages schools to offer foods produced by local farmers and by students studying agriculture education. an on-campus undertaking yielding fresh fruits and vegetables for the school menu.
Carol Richwine, a Horticulture Instructor at Northern H.S., said, “Experiential learning is how Ag-Ed has been taught for hundreds of years. You experience as you do it. That's really the best way. That's how we're wired.”
Students say the program inspires them to make healthier eating choices based on what they've learned about nutritional food values and natural growing techniques.
Alicia David, a junior at Northern H.S., said, “Now you actually get to see it being grown and it's good. It's healthy and you get to see where it comes from.”
Kyra Braun, a junior at Northern H.S., said, “You get to get outside. And, like, you can talk to your friends and you can feel like you're making a difference.”
During our visit, fresh cabbage was harvested, then sent on to the culinary arts students for conversion into cole slaw, using four different recipes. From there, the home grown side dish was put to the test where it counts most…in the school cafeteria.
Recipes are voted on, with some of the winners considered for future menus. And, for the winter months, some plants are moved into the ag lab greenhouse with hopes of providing year-round fruits, veggies and herbs.
Jake White, a senior at Northern H.S., said, “It's nice that this school provides this type of education for you. For people who want to do this in the future.”