We continue to highlight the well-rounded Farm to School efforts in Barrow County School System this month. Sheryl Nelson teaches all subjects in grades 3-5 at Bethlehem Elementary School. Below, Sheryl answers some questions about her involvement with Farm to School:
What does Farm to School mean to you and why is it important to you?
Farm to School is an avenue to teach real life skills. This program is important to me because students can experience the joy of growing food and eating it. [Farm to School] is an opportunity to connect our school with the community.
How did you first get involved with Farm to School? (Where did you hear about it, what sparked your interest to bring it into your classroom, etc.)
At the end of last year my principle, Mrs. Reid, sent me an email from the school system administration asking for any teachers interested to contact Nicole Trunk. I contacted her and we had a meeting at the end of last school year with her and Mrs. Tina (cafeteria manager) to talk about how to start. Mrs. Davis and I went to a Northeast Georgia Farm to School teacher training (Garden Mind workshop, held at South Jackson Elementary) this summer that really showed us how to start Farm to School, and we saw the opportunity that this program can give a school.
Can you highlight some of the exciting Farm to Schools efforts happening in your class? (Taste Tests, school gardens, field trips to farms, etc.)
So far we have tilled an area and planted turnips, spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, Brussel sprouts, onions, collards, broccoli, and flowers. We do have turnips and cucumbers have sprouted.
How do your students respond to your Farm to School efforts?
They love the opportunity to see things grow!! When they saw that the Brussel sprouts had sprouted on Tuesday they went crazy!! We feel very honored to share this experience with them!
What is the most exciting thing about Farm to School in the classroom?
The most exciting thing is seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when they see that their hard work is paying off.
What is the most challenging?
The most challenging is having enough time outside. I also struggle with having all the materials that we need.
What are your top 2 Farm to School goals for this school year?
One of my goals for Farm to School is being able to teach the kids how to care for plants. My other goal for Farm to School is have the students taste the different vegetables that we grow.
If you were a vegetable, which vegetable would you be and why?
I would want to be a Cucumber because they grow like a vine and produce a lot when cared for correctly. I love that I can eat cucumbers different ways. They are very refreshing!