Beyond Farm to School: Creating Sustainable School Food Systems
What does the future of food hold?
In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Goal 2: Zero Hunger challenges the global community to rethink how we grow, share, and consume food. Today, over 800 million people around the world go hungry. We need to get creative to feed our planet's growing population in a sustainable way.
Where better to start than in K-12 schools! Schools have a role to play, and a responsibility, in modeling sustainable food systems. Farm to school programs and school gardens are a great start. But we need to dream bigger to bring about real change when it comes to school meals. In pockets across the country, schools and school districts are doing just that. They are transitioning to scratch cooking, offering more plant-based meal options, finding creative ways to reduce food waste, implementing hydroponic and aquaponic systems, and extending feeding programs to their local communities.
This month, GreenNotes examined how schools and organizations are working to create sustainable food systems that nourish students and communities, with stories from Fork Farms, Spark-Y, D.C. Public Schools, Lost River Junior-Senior High School, and Cameron (West Virginia) High School. 
Feature Articles

The Menasha Model: Innovative Hydroponics and One Million Meals

A Recipe for Change: D.C. Public Schools Overhauls School Food Program with Delicious Results

Planting the Seeds for a Sustainable Future at Spark-Y

Food as Culture: Building Community and a Sustainable Future through Agriculture Education at Cameron High School

Farm to Table Rules at Lost River

Rethinking Lunchtime: Making Lunch an Integral Part of Education

Reprinted with permission from Green Teacher magazine. 
Learn with Green Schools National Network

The Power of Place: A Walk Through Time

Who: Teachers and Building Level School Leaders
When: October 17 - 18, 2019
Where: Prairie Crossing Charter School, Grayslake, Illinois
Cost:  Catalyst Network Members: 2 free slots with Catalyst Code/$100 for each additional slot
          GSNN Members: $200
          Non-Members: $250

Register early! Registration is limited to 30 participants.

Join Green Schools National Network and 2017 Best of Green Schools award recipient Prairie Crossing Charter School for a two-day exploration of the Power of Place: A Walk Through Time. This site seminar will provide an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to see place-based, project-based, and problem-based learning in action. Prairie Crossing Charter School, a K-8 school just north of Chicago, was founded in 1999, with an environmental and sustainability lens to match the surrounding conservation neighborhood. Teaching and learning at Prairie Crossing are not restricted to the four walls of a classroom or pages in a book. Instead, teaching and learning are informed by the history of the school and grounds and how best to empower students to become Natural Leaders through place-, project-, and problem-based learning while preparing them for high school and beyond.   

GSNN Webinar: Transforming School Food Systems

When: 4:00pm ET - 5:00pm ET on October 28, 2019
Cost: Free!

Many solutions exist to address the shift from cheap, precooked hamburger patties and chicken nuggets that have been the staple of school lunch programs for too long. This webinar will highlight two school districts that have taken on major reform efforts to make their school lunches healthier and in-line with the efforts needed for a more sustainable future. Encinitas Union School District will discuss their Health and Wellness Program and Farm Lab, where students learn how farm to school works by engaging in lessons around sustainability, local ingredients, and entrepreneurship at the district's ten-acre farm. Oak Park Unified School District will share lessons learned from their use of Orca, an innovative technology solution, to reduce the volume of food waste sent to the landfill and transition their entire school lunch program to include more plant-forward menus.

Sustainability Leadership: Driving Innovation for a Prosperous Future

Who: Executive Level and Building Level School Leaders
When: March 30 - 31, 2020
Where: Old Donation School, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Cost: Catalyst Network Members: 2  free slots with Catalyst Code/$100 for each additional slot
          GSNN Members: $200
          Non-Members: $250

Join Green Schools National Network and 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Award recipient Virginia Beach City Public Schools for a 1.5 day exploration of Sustainability Leadership: Driving Innovation for a Prosperous Future. This site seminar is designed for Executive Level and Building Level leaders who are interested in learning how sustainability can help your district reduce expenses while decreasing your ecological footprint; improve the health and well-being of those who work, learn, and play in your schools; and prepare students for college and careers in a future that will require new ways of thinking and learning. The site seminar will highlight how sustainability leaders, informed by Harvard University's Executive Education in Sustainability Leadership program, have developed purpose-driven ideas to drive innovation in organizational culture, operations and management, and teaching and learning.

Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai in Kenya

Who:  K-12 Educators
When:  July 14 - 27, 2020
Where:  Kenya, Africa, including stops in Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru, and Masai Mara
Cost:  $5,575 (based on a minimum of seven participants). Cost includes meals, accommodations, and activities as indicated in the itinerary; in-country transportation; full-time guide for the duration of the program; bottled water on the bus; and carbon offset. Does not include international airfare, estimated at $1,625 from Orlando, gratuities, or items of a personal nature. Other departure cities are available.

Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai is a 13-day adventure designed for educators that follows the footsteps of the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. This field-based learning experience incorporates themes of cultural exchange, service-learning, and sustainability. Participants will receive transdisciplinary learning experiences that will deepen their understanding of the complexities that surround global environmental issues and inspire action. This professional learning experience provides the following opportunities:
  • Learn about Wangari Maathai by visiting her birthplace and the foundations, institutes, and programs that continue to advance her work;
  • Live and work with members of the Green Belt Movement;
  • Design curriculum for your classroom that integrates Wangari Maathai programs and ideas; and
  • Explore one of the world's most important and unique natural resources - the African Plains.
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