On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Denver Public Schools (DPS) celebrated Colorado Proud School Meal Dayat the Denver Green School and schools across the district. DPS Food and Nutrition Services and Sprout City Farms hosted Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Katie Wilson, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) deputy for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. Attendees enjoyed a school meal made with Colorado ingredients – zucchini, onions, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes – grown at Denver Green School, participated in a farm tour, and then a cooking demonstration by DPS chef Adam Fisher.
Sprout City Farms, an urban agriculture non-profit, partnered with DPS to establish the Denver Green School community farm, which is a one-acre organic vegetable farm on the grounds of the school. The farm provides fresh produce to the school cafeteria through the first on-site farm to cafeteria program. To date, 2,553 lbs. of produce have been harvested for the school kitchen since 2011.
Produce from the farm also benefits families of the school and community through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share program, a weekly farm stand, cooking classes and produce donations. Since 2011, more than 55,000 lbs. of produce have been harvested from the Denver Green School farm, which has benefited students, families and the community.
The Denver Green School also uses the school farm to educate students by developing science- and literacy-based curriculum centered on growing food. This curriculum has been also shared with teachers across DPS in 2015. Curriculum and recipe development, and on-farm food safety training, were funded by a USDA Farm to School grant from 2012-14.
DPS promotes the use of local agriculture by purchasing produce from Colorado farmers, including from school gardens and farms. Students across DPS enjoy produce from Colorado growers, including:
During the 2015-16 school year, DPS used over 300,000 lbs. of Colorado grown produce, including 30,791 lbs. from school farms and 901 lbs. from school gardens. DPS farms are located at three DPS elementary schools, including Bradley, McGlone and Schmitt. School gardeners at the following schools are also harvesting produce, or planning to harvest produce, for school kitchens beginning September and October 2016: Asbury, Ashley, Bradley International, Bromwell, Colfax, Columbian, Cory, Denver Language, DCIS at Fairmont, Fairview, Gilpin Montessori, Isabella Bird, High Tech Elementary, Kaiser, Lincoln, Lowry, Manual, Samuels, Steele, Swansea, Teller and University Park.
For more information on these partnerships in DPS, visit foodservices.dpsk12.org.