In 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service awarded $10/7 million to 103 projects across the country under the Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program. As one of the six grants awarded across Florida, Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) Department of Career and Technical Education will implement a project entitled the “Coral Reef Senior High School Explores the Future of Farming.” This project will expand student learning experiences beyond the existing school garden to include hydro cycle vertical plant production. This will exponentially increase plant production capacity, have a positive impact on food security, and provide an impetus for dissemination of information pertaining to nutrition and urban farming to the community. The project will produce print and social media related to nutrition education and urban farming and culinate with the production of a replicable agriculture education curriculum supplement that can be adopted by the K-12 Agriculture Education community. This educational supplement will emphasize a real-world context for food production and relevant work-based learning experiences necessary for student-led plant production in raised-bed and hydroponic growing settings. Through this agricultural education project, M-DCPS students will connect with local foods, local farmers, industry professional and engage in agricultural industry focused experiences to explore the future of farming first-hand.
All grantees were required to meet with other grant awardees and the USDA grant support team to kick off their projects. Dr. Nyree Washington, lead teacher from Coral Reef Senior High attended the Grantee Gathering in Atlanta, GA this past September 13-15, 2023. While in Atlanta, the grantees visited the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm.
Dr. Washington will use the funds from the Farm to School grant to enhance the work her students have been doing in their school gardens. The 2023 USDA Farm to School grant will increase plant yields exponentially by introducing hyroponic plant production and opportunities for community engagement through food sharing, demonstrations and educational seminars going forward.
The Farm to School grant opens opportunities for students to learn about nutrition and agriculture through hands-on experiences, such as planting, watering, and harvesting fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Article written by M-DCPS Office of Grants Administration