In Marin County, our Farm to School education programs teach students, parents, and community members about sustainable agriculture, healthy foods, and nutrition. These programs utilize two main strategies: Nutrition Education and Career Development

Nutrition Education

Our nutrition education programs are aimed at students K-5 and their parents. These programs involve teaching students in the classroom about healthy eating and educating parents through workshops and direct marketing materials. 

As part of our nutrition education activities, we strive to: 

Decrease plate waste

In order to reduce plate waste in schools, Marin County has partnered with Zero Waste Marin, a group aimed at improving the recycling, composting, and waste disposal practices of residents and local businesses. With the help of Zero Waste Marin, we are integrating waste reduction education into the district's curricula, training students and custodial staff how to separate their waste, diverting food scraps from going into the landfill, and using compost from the kitchens and lunchrooms in our gardens. This not only saves the school district $100,000+ in garbage pick-up charges per school year, but also decreases greenhouse gas emissions. We are determined to reduce kitchen and cafeteria waste in all Marin County schools. 

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Increase fruit and vegetable consumption

In an effort to increase students' fruit and vegetable consumption, we have integrated nutrition education into the school district's curricula, routinely host cooking labs and "taste tests", accommodate garden time, hold Farmers Market Days at school, and take field trips to the farm. We also utilize programs such as Smarter Lunchrooms, PowerPlay!, and Harvest of the Month. 

<<Describe how we are measuring student fruit and vegetable consumption (self report and/or waste audit).>>

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Increase participation in school meal programs and dual-enrollment

Through our school meal programs, students are able to receive one free or reduced-price meal at school each day if needed. We encourage students to take advantage of school meal programs by incorporating fruits and vegetables grown by students in our school gardens, hosting cooking labs and "taste tests", serving consistent and flavorful food, and including more options in the salad bar.  

We've noticed that many children who utilize school meal programs are not enrolled in other food assistance programs, such as CalFresh, even though they may be eligible. It is our goal to increase the dual-enrollment of families in school meal programs and CalFresh. We are trying to better inform parents about CalFresh eligibility and enrollment by...<<Describe dual-enrollment efforts>>

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Career Development

Our nutrition education programs also assist community members through job skills training and career development. Targeted community members ("interns") are given the opportunity to acquire agricultural skills by working alongside experts in our community gardens. These programs, and the transferable skills they teach, provide a pathway to jobs and promote the social and economic sustainability of high-risk populations.

We receive interns through several partner organizations. Adult interns come from the Rehabilitation Services Program at Marin City Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization aimed at increasing the earnings and skills of unemployed or underemployed Marin County residents. High school-aged youth may join through either the Pathways Program, an alternative education program in the Tamalpais Unified High School District, or the County of Marin's Career Explorers program, an internship program for vulnerable youth. <<Provide additional details about community garden internship program>>

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