From the Colorado Farm to School Task Force, this excel spreadsheet is compilation of all the best FTS curriculum available in an easily searchable format. Need to identify school garden science curriculum for middle schoolers? Easy! Just click on the grade level and academic subject to automatically sort the resources in the spreadsheet.
From the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture, the Colorado Readers are distributed to Colorado educators during the months of September, October, November, January, February, March and April during the school year.
Farm to School Reader Topics
- Colorado: peaches, apples, grapes and more! Colorado is a great place to grow many fruit crops. Colorado is known for it juicy, sweet peaches. Farmers also raise apples, cherries, plums, apricots, llpears, grapes, cantaloupe and watermelons. This reader discusses where these crops are grown in Colorado. It also discusses the nutritional information about fruits. It also introduces various kinds of fruit to students, how fruits are harvested and propagated.
- Nutrition. This issue of the Colorado Reader discusses nutrition and shares activities with students so they can learn about the new MyPlate guidelines for good food choices. It discusses with students the various "power" foods and the health benefit of each food group. There are several activities that help students learn how to read food labels to obtain nutritional information about serving sizes, calories and nutrients. It also discusses how a health lifestyle also includes exercise.
- Ranching: Caring for Land & Animals. Ranching is often multigenerational. This reader shows a family carrying for the their land and animals for four generations.
- Veggies of Colorado. Veggies of Colorado introduces students to the diverse vegetable crops grown in Colorado. It describes the history and biology of potatoes and onions, two large vegetable crops of Colorado. It uses charts and tables to help students understand the nutrient value of various vegetables. The Broccoli Story share information about the economics of growing broccoli.
Dig In!, a standards-based nutrition education curriculum from USDA’s Team Nutrition, helps kids, teachers, and parents explore a world of possibilities in the garden and on the plate. Ten inquiry-based lessons engage 5th and 6th graders in growing, harvesting, tasting, and learning about fruits and vegetables Dig In! also includes a gardening guide, booklets for parents/caregivers, and six dynamic posters encouraging fruit and vegetable choices using themes that appeal to older elementary school children. Now, schools participating in the National School Lunch Program or other Child Nutrition program may request a free print copy of the curriculum. Click here for more information to download the curriculum or order hard copies.
Fresh from the Farm (FFF)
This is a K-12 curriculum developed by the nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead. The FFF curriculum is specific to farm to school and contains teaching materials and student activities that engage all aspects of farm to school. The FFF curriculum has been implemented in Chicago area schools, Boston city schools, and endorsed by Vermont FEED. FFF has also been evaluated by the Center for Food & Justice at Occidental College, which found positive effects on student knowledge and behavior.
FFF Curriculum Components
The FFF Curriculum has year-round lessons and activities that include:
- How to use farm tours to engage children in hands-on farm activities while teaching them how farmers grow food and protect the natural environment.
- Classroom food tastings and curriculum lessons that introduce children to varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, their nutritional value, cultural uses, and cultivation methods.
- How to use school gardens that engage children in growing food, provide a new context for eating healthy food, and offer a living classroom of nature’s life cycles.
- Farmer visits to classrooms that teach children about the farmer’s life, connect kids to farmers who grow their food, and nurture respect for growing and eating healthy food.
- Chef cooking demonstrations that teach children how to make simple recipes that incorporate healthy and local farm food while developing an appreciation for food and the art of cooking.
- Parent education that informs parents about healthy eating choices and makes the link between academic success, physical well-being, and eating habits at home.
- School-based composting that completes the natural cycle of growing food, eating food, and converting food into fertilizer for new food while creating a hands-on learning model for other eco-effective, school-based practices.
This is a 4th-7th grade curriculum developed at the Center for Food and Environment at the Teachers College of Columbia University. The LiFE curriculum is a science-based food and nutrition curriculum that promotes scientific literacy to improve health through the study of food and food systems. The LiFE curriculum has been implemented across the country in SNAP-Ed programs in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, and California. It has been extensively evaluated and pre-post tests have found that LiFE significantly improved youth’s knowledge around the concepts taught.
LiFE Curriculum Components
The LiFE Curriculum provides experiences for students to learn science through the study of food systems. It uses scientific reasoning to have students explore and analyze their personal food choices and apply what they have learned to personal decisions related to food systems, health and the natural environment. It is composed of three series:
- Growing Food (grades 4, 5 or 6): The driving question is “How does nature provide us with food?” Students engage in hands-on investigations of photosynthesis, explore food webs, discuss and debate managing agricultural systems, and more. There are five units with multiple lesson plans per unit.
- Farm to Table & Beyond (grades 5 or 6): The driving question is “What is the system that gets food from farm to table and how does this system affect the environment?” Students develop an understanding of systems and examine the interacting parts of food systems. They engage in hands-on investigations of the cycling of matter in nature and human impact on this cycle including energy and resource use in processing, packaging, and transporting food. There are six units with multiple lesson plans per unit.
- Choice, Control & Change (grades 6, 7, or 8): The driving question is “How can we use scientific evidence to help us make healthful food and activity choices?” Students learn how an understanding of biology, the built environment, and personal behaviors affect weight and health. Students engage in hands-on investigations of “dynamic equilibrium” – energy intake and expenditure. They explore food preference, their food environment, lifestyle-related diseases, and more. There are five units with multiple lesson plans per unit.
Food for Thought High School Nutritional Curriculum
The Food for Thought Curriculum teaches students how food is grown, processed, distributed, marketed, sold and consumed. The curriculum was developed by a Registered Dietitian in Colorado at An Ounce of Nutrition. Classes run a semester long. For more information, contact Cathy Schmelter.
Food for Thought Curriculum Description
Topic 1: From Farm to Table - Students will learn the basics about how food goes from farm to table, what the various food systems are and what affects them.
Topic 2: How does your Garden Grow? Students learn about how food is grown differently today and how agribusiness affects it. They will understand the concept of genetically modified foods (GMO’s) and be able to describe how plants are grown.
Topic 3: Processed Kids - Students will learn about how food is processed and manufactured. They will learn about the five biggest processors in the world and their ownership of today’s food. They will be able to explain the process of refining sugars and will learn about ingredients and food additives added to foods.
Topic 4: Fossil Foods - Students will understand the affects of pesticides on foods and how it affects the environment. They will learn about how far food travels from farm to plate and how much fossil fuel that consumes. They will gain an understanding of how food processing causes food and water pollution.
Topic 5: The art and science of junk-food marketing - Students will understand how food marketing influences their choices and how “branding food” matters to food companies. They will understand the various avenues that food companies use to market to teens. And they will learn about how fast food marketing affects their health.
Topic 6: Nutrition 101 - Students will learn the basics about nutrition for teens. They will understand why they need the macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and good fat) and the value of choosing foods loaded with vitamins and minerals (e.g. fruits and vegetables). They will learn about cholesterol, fat and salt and how that can have a negative impact on their health.
Topic 7: The Golden Rules of School Food - Students will learn about how the USDA impacts choices offered in their school. Students will learn about healthy food choices in their cafeteria and other nutrition education opportunities that are happening in their district/school. Healthy vending options will also be addressed.
Topic 8: Supermarket Savant - Students will learn about the movement towards more fresh and local foods. They will gain an understanding of the difference between organic and conventional foods. They will explore the value of cooking food at home. And will understand nutrition information on a food label.
Topic 9: Lightning Speed Foods - Students will learn about healthy restaurant trends. They will be able to decipher healthy meal choices at fast food restaurants vs. unhealthy ones. They will develop an understanding of “right-size” portions of food.
Topic 10: Food Inequity - Students will learn about how hunger in Colorado in the world and in their neighborhood.
DUG uses a seasonal approach to teaching which bridges gardening, nutrition and science using standards-aligned lessons for the elementary school classroom and garden. Each lesson includes the applicable Colorado Academic Standards in science and comprehensive health with suggested extensions and modifications. Most lessons are one hour and include a healthy, kid-tested recipe that is appropriate for the classroom, topic and season.
The Growe Foundation focuses on experiential learning opportunities for children, their families and communities around healthy eating and caring for the environment. Their Garden to Table program provides elementary schools in Boulder Valley School District with the resources and support to build vegetable gardens and create hands-on learning experiences for students through growing, preparing and eating healthy food. K-5 curriculum materials are available for any school to use.
Life Lab, a nonprofit organization, has emerged as a national leader in the garden-based learning movement.
Want to learn tips for bringing dynamic cooking experiences to children? Ever wonder which recipes work best in the classroom setting? Whether you are a community organizer, parent or teacher, this webinar will offer key considerations and solutions to cooking in the classroom.