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In addition to growing food, the students also learn what it takes to build a farm. They are included in every process including building terraces, constructing greenhouse beds out of wood or concrete, erecting grape arbors and building stone benches.
We work with kindergarten through eighth grade every Friday. At the end of every class, we hand out healthy snacks to encourage kids to maintain a healthy diet and appreciate naturally grown food.
We believe every school should have a garden program, as food, health, and just getting outside to play in the dirt is an essential part of life.
Hansel Kern started the school garden back in 1999 when Aaron Kern was in second grade. Back then, Hansel would come to the school every Friday, and sometimes bring his goats. Fast forward 20 years and the garden is now its own micro farm set in just over an acre of land at North Fork Elementary with three fields for row crops, a greenhouse, berry trellises, a grape arbor and an orchard with over twenty five trees. Every Friday Hansel and the Kern Family Farm team head to North Fork elementary where each grade group has a lesson spent in the garden.
The North Fork Elementary cafeteria uses the produce grown in the garden for school lunches and we’ve found that everyones much more willing to eat from the salad bar when they’ve been part of growing the food themselves. In addition to salad greens, the garden produces kale, chard, onions, carrots, radishes, squash, pumpkins, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, grapes, strawberries, blackberries and more (we want to keep experimenting with new crops.)