Forest City picked as pilot farm site
BY CAITLIN HEANEY
Farms will have a stronger presence in some of Forest City Regional School District’s classrooms this year with the help of a state grant.
The district is one of seven pilot sites in the state participating in the Farm to School grant program, part of Penn State University’s Project PA and funded by the state Department of Education.
Schools will document what they do in the program so others can learn from their experiences, said Elaine McDonnell, Project PA project coordinator.
“We’re hoping to find out some lessons learned about implementing Farm to School that we could share with the rest of the state in terms of a step-by-step sort of guide,” she said.
Forest City will put the nearly $4,200 grant toward its pre-K and kindergarten classes, featuring farms as part of the curriculum and promoting healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, said Superintendent Robert J. Vadella, Ed.D.
“It’s always good to enhance the curriculum with the additional resources when you can get them,” he said.
Schools also can use the grants for field trips, nutrition and agriculture education materials and school garden materials, among other areas.
“We’re going to get to do more of the farm experience and more with the products off the farm,” Vadella said.
The program supports local farms while building a sense of community, McDonnell said.
“In exposing children to locally grown products, they’re being exposed to fruits and vegetables of higher quality,” McDonnell said.
“So they’re more likely to be accepting of those fruits and vegetables.”