What does the Hudson Valley Seed program look like?
The Hudson Valley Seed program is customizable for any school environment. Our typical program runs for 35 weeks, (every week of the school year) for 45 minutes to an hour each week. One of our educators is paired with each class, so that there is a consistent relationship between the educator, the classroom teacher, and students. Hudson Valley Seed's educator will come into the class fully prepared with a lesson and materials. The class will do a short introduction in the classroom and then go out to the garden to learn! Depending on the grade level, students will normally be given garden journals that they will make entries in each week. Students might be measuring the growth of seedlings, counting seeds, drawing their observations, dissecting lima beans, learning about weather patterns and maps, or creating garden poems. Our Education Director will make sure that our lessons are matched with the teacher's scope and sequence for the school year so that the lessons all line up. We also offer an abbreviated program that runs bi-weekly throughout the school year, for a total of 16 garden visits.
Why does Farm to School matter?
Farm-to-School education addresses society-wide issues of childhood obesity, poor nutrition, and a curriculum void of life-skill training. Hudson Valley Seed brings vitality to the academic classroom, working within national, state and local frameworks to bring environmental education and healthy nutrition to schools and communities. Hudson Valley Seed’s mission is to instill a generation of Hudson Valley children with an appreciation and knowledge of the land, nutrition education, and dedication to using local food to feed their families, schools and communities.
Is your school the right fit?
We believe that healthy food, green space and outdoor learning should be accessible to any school that wants it. We partner with schools that range from being able to pay for the program in full to schools that cannot contribute anything towards the garden program. The program costs approximately $122 per student for the first year of the program. For a class with 28 students for example, that would be $3,416 for the year. These costs drop in year two since the garden will already be built. Regardless of whether your school can or cannot afford this program, we want to work with you to make it possible for your students to have garden time. We currently have over 13,000 students on our waiting list, and we are working hard to bring Hudson Valley Seed to those students as quickly as possible. Here is what we look for in a partner school:
- A garden. Most of the schools we partner with do not have an existing garden. However, if your school does that can speed up the process of partnership.
- A garden committee. This committee should include at least one administrator, food service professional, parent and teacher.
- A volunteer network to help with watering and weeding.
- Buy-in from teachers and administrators. We want to know going in that principals, superintendents and teachers are all on board. We have worked with many schools where a teacher wanted this program and received push back. We can help you get the buy-in you need for this program!
- Funding. This can mean a plan for a crowd-funding campaign, a proposal to the school board, or other creative ways to help fundraise the cost of this program.
Hudson Valley Seed was also founded on the premise that schools cannot do this work alone. If you are eager to bring garden education to your school, please reach out to us even if you are struggling to achieve the above list. We have navigated these obstacles before and would be glad to help you.
What we don't do.
We get a lot of requests to help schools with gardening and landscaping projects. While we love the idea of schools having more green and growing spaces, we specifically build vegetable gardens in schools that are formally including our education program in their classrooms.