Our Farm To School Plan – Finalized!

May 11th, 2016

Over a year ago, Amy Haessly, our Nutrition Education and Training Supervisor, who is also a Registered Dietitian, began a process with technical assistance from CHIP (Community Health Improvement Partners) to develop a comprehensive 3-year Farm To School Plan (click for the full plan) for Vista Unified. Stakeholders from the district and community collaborated to share ideas and work together toward a pioneering district-wide program.

We’re proud to unveil the final plan today. Amy and a team of people representing schools and departments across the district, with the support of CNS Director Brock Smith and Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs Donna Caperton, have done an enormous amount of work to develop and implement this plan.

The plan is a 3-year process that encompasses three primary areas of work: Education, Procurement, and School Gardens.

Education: Having students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health and nutrition. These include activities like Harvest Of The Month, which is being utilized by over 200 VUSD classrooms each month. Or our educational partnership with Solutions Farms, which allows students to learn about their organic, aquaponic technique of growing the very produce served each day by WaveCrest Cafe. We love to connect the kitchen to the classroom, and the classroom to students’ homes.

Procurement: We continue to work to purchase more and more local foods, and make sure that they are promoted as they are served in all of our WaveCrest Cafe locations. Whether that’s produce from Solutions Farms, Eden Tropics and American Produce, fresh baked goods from S&S Bakery, or our home made salsa, dressing and other items, local food is on the menu daily. We participate in California Thursdays, a statewide initiative that involves 55 school districts around the state, and 12 in San Diego County, encouraging students to learn more about where their food comes from, and supporting California food growers and producers.

School Gardens: We are working to provide students with hands-on learning about nutrition through gardening. Several schools across Vista Unified have school gardens, from traditional gardening beds to vertical aeroponic as well as aquaponic gardens. Our goal with as many of these as possible is to have these gardens certified to serve their produce at WaveCrest Cafe so that we can serve students the same food that they are growing each day.

We have fantastic partners in the effort, including CHIP (Community Health Improvement Partners), an organization that works across San Diego County to advocate for healthier nutrition and wellness options in communities, and who gathered the various districts across the county for a Farm To School Task Force.

All of this is done as part of our vision to change the face of school food. It’s an ongoing process that allows us to continually learn, refine and grow in our knowledge as we serve the students and families of Vista Unified School District.