Greater Amsterdam School District has been awarded a $64,000 federal grant to expand its edible garden program to three more elementary schools. The Farm to Schools grant, announced in July, comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USGA).
The money will be used during the 2021-22 school year to add three more district greenhouses to the elementary schools at McNulty Academy and Barkley and Tecler schools. Marie Curie Institute, GASD’s fourth elementary school, already operates a greenhouse and related edible garden program.
The new greenhouses, 10 X 27-foot in size, will be placed in suitable locations at each of the three school campuses, taking into consideration access to direct sunlight, proximity to the buildings, safety, security and other existing uses of nearby school grounds.
Each greenhouse costs about $10,000. The other grant funding will be used for administration of the program and to purchase gardening supplies such as pots, trays, soils, seeds, work benches, tools and watering/misting systems.
The grant will help serve as a catalyst for additional Farm to School learning opportunities for young students, providing food for school meals, hands-on agricultural education and a chance to work with local farmers to plant organic produce.
The Farm to School initiative, with its focus on a well-balanced diet including fresh, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, also offers schools a way to positively impact children’s health and well-being throughout their lives. Children get to grow and test new healthy foods that can also be introduced to the school menu.