Galveston’s Own Farmers Market’s (GOFM) is one of the 176 recipients to receive a 2021 USDA Farm to School Grant.
GOFM’s Young Gardeners Program currently operates at eight Galveston ISD (GISD) schools as part of the TOR and Texas ACE after school programs. GOFM & GISD have introduced monthly district-wide taste-testings of vegetables harvested from the GOFM’s Young Gardeners Program school gardens. On December 14, every GISD third grader (447 children total) sampled salads made from spinach, lettuce, chard, green beans and radishes harvested by GOFM and prepared by GISD cafeteria staff.
“Helping schools expand access to healthy, locally grown produce through these grants is just one of the many ways USDA is transforming America’s food system,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Not only will this give children more nutritious food options in school, it supports local agriculture economies while connecting them to the farms and farmers that grow the food we all depend on.”
By connecting kids and local agriculture, the Galveston Farm to School Project revolutionizes the way kids eat, learn, and think about fresh food at school--and beyond.
A team of local school and nonprofit leaders, food service personnel, local farmers, and community health researchers are developing a comprehensive implementation plan for extending beyond the current farm to school activities of GOFM’s Young Gardeners Program---including procuring foods from local farmers, adapting existing YGP curriculum for school-day use, and growing GOFM’s gardens network as a hyper-local pipeline of fresh produce on GISD cafeteria menus.
“We are grateful for this opportunity presented by the USDA,” says Executive Director of GOFM Casey McAuliffe. “This expedites our plan to introduce more locally grown produce into Galveston Island school cafeterias and expose children to agriculture and nutrition education through hands-on learning. Our vision is for every student in Galveston to become a fresh food expert.”
How can you help grow this program? GOFM’s Young Gardeners Program Director Honi Alexander answers, “Volunteering as a garden facilitator at one of the many schools. Your time and energy is a great contributor to ensuring we can complete all the necessary tasks of teaching the magic of gardening to our kids.”
Interested community members can learn more about volunteering by chatting with our volunteer coordinator: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0c4cadaa2babf49-learn2
About Galveston’s Own Farmers Market
Founded in 2012, Galveston's Own Farmers Market is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to connecting our community to local foods through year-round weekly farmers markets, food access initiatives, school gardens and health & food education opportunities. Learn more about our programs: https://galvestonsownfarmersmarket.com/about
About Galveston ISD
Galveston ISD is a public school district in Texas, established in 1884, that serves nearly 7,000 students. Its 12 Schools of Choice campuses consist of traditional and theme-based schools, charter schools, STEM programs, magnet schools, and a mega-magnet high school. The district’s mission is to Educate, Engage and Empower EACH student for a life of Excellence. To learn more, visit www.gisd.org.