People take Square Foot Gardening’s certified instructor course for many reasons. Some already have a project they’d like to start but require additional knowledge while others take it in order to implement the SFG method into projects that are already underway. There is, however, a whole other group of people who get their certification to get more involved with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation but have no idea where to start. Our website does offer a few tips and suggestions for getting started but we recently heard about a little-known program, Garden-to-Cafe, that would work great with the SFG method and would be a great way to put your certification to work!
The premise behind garden-to-cafe programs is to teach healthy eating habits to kids by bringing fresh, local produce into cafeteria meals. The produce is typically grown by local farmers and program-approved gardens but many school districts, particularly in San Diego and New York City, have taken it a step further by planting kid-maintained school gardens to provide the fruits and veggies for their cafeteria meals. The garden and its care is often written into classroom curriculum which offers an opportunity to teach students not only where their food comes from but is also a unique way to incorporate the learning of basic academic skills into a fun activity.
Hundreds of school districts across the United States are looking for healthier ways to feed their students and are also looking into installing school gardens for classroom use. If you are a CI looking for a unique project why not combine these ideas to get a garden-to-cafe program started in your area? The SFG method was designed to be an easy way for anyone, including kids, to grow their own fresh produce and would be the perfect method for a school garden. You can start by researching garden-to-cafe programs currently operating in cities across the US for inspiration and ideas. Once you have created a clear program outline, contact your local school district for food guidelines/regulations and instructions on how to get your program approved for use. For more information on the programs currently in place in New York City and San Diego check out their webpages at http://growtolearn.org/view/GardentoSchoolCafe (NYC) and http://www.sandi.net/Page/48553 (San Diego).