Marco and Laura Patzer, with Cherry Rock Farm teach fourth graders how to plant pea shoots.

On Thursday April 28th, DRA member Laura Patzer with Cherry Rock Farm visited Fred Assam Elementary School in Sioux Falls to help the fourth graders plant pea shoots in their milk cartons they had saved from lunch. The students were all excited to learn about the nutritionally dense food and how to plant it. Some shared stories about how they have gardens at home, while others asked questions about how deep to plant the seeds and the right amount of water. This awesome program is a great example of how to start Farm to School programs in schools. Cherry Rock also supplies the school with cucumbers and tomatoes for snacks. The students will water the plants for 10 days, before Cherry Rock comes back and helps them harvest the microgreens. You can watch the KELOLAND story here

Megan and Dan Eisenvos with IronFox Farm help students plan seeds in their garden plots

On Friday April 29th, students from Eugene Field Elementary had their first visit to Iron Fox Farm to plant seeds in their plots. Each class has been working with Dan and Megan over the past few months to plan their gardens. The kids measured out the rows, marked them with twine and planted beets, carrots, peas, and potatoes. They had a blast and learned so much! Homegrown chapter members volunteered to make sure the day ran smoothly. If you want to get involved next time, Iron Fox Farm could use volunteers May 6th, 13th, and 17th. Contact Iron Fox Farm for more information. 

These are just two examples of great Farm to School programs happening in our state! If you are interested in starting a Farm to School program near you, or working to address the barriers to Farm to School on a statewide level, there’s a lot to do! The SD Farm to School Network has formed three working groups to work on specific projects over the next year:  F2S awareness and understanding, procurement technical assistance, and producer training. Additionally DRA members interested in policy, have started looking at reimbursement policies for schools that purchase local foods. This will help increase local food procurement by helping offset the cost and incentivize local food purchases. If you are interested in getting involved contact Lilli DiPaola,