WAYNESBORO Public SCHOOLS
In 2019, AMI embarked on a multi-year farm-to-school initiative with Waynesboro Public Schools in Waynesboro, VA. The funding is provided through an Extended Year Programming Grant from the Virginia Department of Education and the focus is on student engagement at Kate Collins Middle School.
Educational programming provides a real-life platform for students to apply the Virginia Department of Education's 5 C’s - critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship skills - while bolstering the social, economic, and individual health of the Waynesboro community.
Waynesboro Educational Farm:
The Waynesboro Educational Farm, located at Berkeley Glenn Elementary School, began in January of 2021. It serves as a production and education space, allowing students, teachers, and families to join in growing vegetables for school and community use. AMI works with a committee of teachers and administrators who guide the direction of the farm and educational integration.
The farm has 1/4 of an acre in production, growing a wide variety of nutrient-dense vegetables using ecologically sound, soil-building practices. There is also a greenhouse, shed, and wash-pack area on site. In 2022, an educational pavilion and perennial fruit garden will be added.
Teachers at Kate Collins Middle School work in conjunction with AMI to direct the Garden Club gatherings and Summer School programming. Planting, weeding, harvesting, washing, packing, and distributing are integrated into student activities.
The vegetables grown on the farm are being utilized in three ways:
The school cafeteria integrates the produce into school meals.
Teachers use the vegetables as part of educational activities.
Harvest bags accompany school meals that are distributed to participating families.
Kate Collins Middle School Courtyard Gardens:
With installation beginning in 2019, two courtyard gardens at Kate Collins Middle School provide space for students to engage with agricultural hands-on learning directly outside their classrooms. They offer 12-raised beds, an outdoor covered classroom, and a three-bin compost system.
Teachers work in conjunction with AMI Fellows to develop lessons that integrate hands-on activities with standards of learning in all subjects. The Middle School Garden Club also cares for and helps to grow the vegetables planted in the courtyards. Experiential education in the courtyards aims to improve student achievement, leadership skills, physical health, and social-emotional learning.