Candy Lane Elementary School near Oak Grove, in partnership with Oregon nonprofit Schoolyard Farms, has received funding from Clackamas County’s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) grant, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant and The Whole Kids Foundation School Garden grant to expand their school farm program. The funds will enable the school to build a perimeter fence around their one-acre school farm, an outdoor classroom, shed and greenhouse.
The outdoor classroom will serve as an educational resource for the more than 250 Candy Lane students that come out to the farm each week during the school year; students will use the classroom as an outdoor science lab, as well as, a kitchen where they will prepare fresh, healthy meals with produce from the farm. During the summer, Schoolyard Farms will utilize the school farm and classroom to host Farm Summer Camp where 1st-6th graders will learn where their food comes from, how to grow and and cook it.
With the addition of the perimeter fence, the school will be able to serve the produce from the school’s farm in the cafeteria, making it the first school in its district to serve produce from the school’s farm or garden in the cafeteria. It is projected that produce from the farm will be served on the cafeteria’s salad bar in the fall of 2014.
Candy Lane Elementary is the first school in Oregon City School District, and one of only a few in all of Oregon, to build a farm on their schoolyard with the intent of serving the food grown on the farm in the school’s cafeteria. In addition to increasing their academic achievement, the school farm benefits the students by connecting them to nature and their food-system, which is key in developing healthy eating habits.
“Children involved in a school farm or garden are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and develop healthy eating habits. By serving the fruits and vegetables in their cafeteria that these children nurture and watch grow in their school garden, we are increasing their chances of being healthier adults,” said Courtney Leeds, director and cofounder of Schoolyard Farms.