More money is being planted into South Whidbey School Farms by Goosefoot.
The nonprofit community development organization announced it plans to continue supporting the school farm and culinary program with a $50,000 grant for the next school year. It has helped the gardens grow with major funding since 2014.
“The South Whidbey School Farms are such an important part of our healthy, growing food system on Whidbey,” said Goosefoot Executive Director Sandra Whiting.
“The school farms have the capacity to not only change the eating habits of our young people, but also their food shopping habits as they get older,” she said. “The schools are educating a new generation of healthy eaters who will want to support our local farmers and who will want to buy and eat local.”
In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Goosefoot ran a challenge grant from the Goose Community Grocer, which it owns, in support of the farm program. Over the three-year matching grant challenge, the community and the Goose together raised $170,423 for the School Farms.
The School Farms deliver more than 1,000 pounds of fresh organic produce to the Chartwells-managed school cafeterias, which end up on students’ plates. Salad bars, Taco Tuesdays and more are made with food picked by students, from kindergartners to high school seniors. Some produce also ends up at food banks.
South Whidbey was the first school district in the nation to follow the Chartwells School Garden Guide protocols for delivering produce on a regular basis for school lunches.
The School Farms expanded to the high school last year where two additional gardens are planted. The main half-acre farm is south of the elementary school; there’s also a snack garden to satisfy hungry kids at recess and the middle school garden supplies produce for lunches.
“The school farm and culinary program budget is approximately $160,000,” said farm manager Cary Peterson.
“Goosefoot is contributing $50,000 this year, the school district contributes $50,000 and community fundraising makes up the other $60,000,” she said. “That is why we are dependent on community donations.”
Goosefoot uses proceeds from the Goose Community Grocer to support the local community through grants and programs that help “build a sense of place and community, preserve rural traditions, enhance local commerce, and help create a healthy, sustainable future for South Whidbey Island.”
- The public is invited to attend the check ceremony 3 p.m., Thursday, June 14 at South Whidbey Elementary School Farm, 5476 Maxwelton Road, Langley.
- Donations to School Farms may be done with a check, made payable to the South Whidbey School District with “School Farm” on the memo line. Mail to: 5520 Maxwelton Road, Langley, WA 98260.
- Information: www.whidbeyschoolgardens.wordpress.com