A farm-to-market idea has taken hold while a group of middle school students grow organic food for their community.
At Hamilton Middle School Cypress, Texas, students have been part of an innovative project for farm to table that includes locally grown organic produce and food grown in their own school garden. The garden this year will expand to include a vertical garden added by Family and consumer science teacher Brenda Carter, working in collaboration with H-E-B.
Carter was invited last summer to join the FDA Teachers Academy for Food Science. In Washington, D.C., she spent a week learning about how all parts of food production and distribution can be covered in classrooms. When she returned, she had a clear idea of her mission.
“My main goal was for the community to help teach my students and then for the students to help the community,” she said. “I told my principal, Kim Sempe, that I had a dream, and she allowed my dream to happen.”
She coordinated a field trip with H-E-B to learn about the store and local farmers and customer service. “We went behind-the-scenes and looked at food safety, too,” Carter said.
Carter then contacted science instructional specialist Nicole Domingues, and they started planning how to build an organic garden. Together with Stephanie Baker of Ready to Grow Gardens, they developed a plan for a school garden.
“Her concept is to help the school build and sustain the garden,” Domingues said of Baker. “Then she has a curriculum that she comes in and teaches.”