farm to school

Harvest of the Month: Kale

November's Harvest of the Month is kale. Harvest of the Month is an initiative of Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s Farm to School program. A different local farm product is served in school meals at area schools each month and we are helping to promote these locally available farm products.

Now, to introduce our November Harvest of the Month… KALE!
By Kathryn B., Farm to School Manager

Most of you have probably heard of this superfood but would you believe it is a favorite among the students we work with?!? Every time we do a cafeteria taste test or have a new student join our after school program they delight us with their memories of coming to the farm and having the spectacular Kale Salad! They love harvesting it, massaging it and adding it to a delicious medley of veggies. Our Harvest of the Month initiative is all about sharing new recipes featuring local farm produce with local kids, so we decided to share a few of our favorite kid-approved Kale recipes and fun resources here.

Thankfully, you can enjoy kale all winter long because it just gets sweeter during the colder months. So even though it’s the November Harvest of the Month, you can count on seeing it at the CSA year round!

Educational Downloads

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Green Thumb Smoothie

This green thumb smoothie is a great way to introduce new people to this awesome green! It’s packed with essential nutrients and is still a fruity, sweet treat for any time of day.

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Autumn Kale Salad

Try out this autumn kale salad recipe - perfect for the end of the season as we head into winter. Combining this superfood with other favourite autumn produce like butternut squash and apples is just one of many ways we serve up kale salad here at the farm. Experiment with other fruit, nuts, beans and veggies to find your favorite combo!


Oh, Kale Yeah! – Benefits of Kale

It seems impossible that one food could have so many benefits, that’s why we call kale a superfood. Not only is it nutrient rich, it’s delicious too! Try some of our suggested recipes to add kale to your diet!


Kale Coloring Sheet

Check out this cool “kale-oring” sheet. A perfect introduction to a tasty vegetable for the children in your life!


Kale Tipsheet from Just Food

Check out this handout to learn tips about storing and preparing kale, including some delicious recipes!


Kale Newsletter from Western NY Farm to School

Our friends in Western NY created this great newsletter with info on how to grow kale, how to prepare it, and more kid-friendly ideas and recipes!

PFP Kale Blog Post from 2017
Former education intern, Elyse Canty, explained a bit about kale, the varieties we grow and how we like to prepare it when working with children.

Gov. Clinton Elementary School Builds a Garden

After taking PFP’s “Using Gardens to Teach” Summer Institute for Educators in 2014, third grade teacher Mrs. Suzi Sullivan was intent on starting a school garden at Clinton School. Since then, she has written and been awarded three grants in order to purchase the fence, garden, beds, soil, and hand tools that have made her vision a reality. Her students have been busy planting seedlings donated by Poughkeepsie Farm Project. School principal, Mr. David Scott said, "I am extremely appreciative of the support of our partners: Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, Whole Kids Foundation, Tractor Supply Company’s Dig-It Program, and Poughkeepsie Farm Project." Clinton students now have the opportunity to experience an outdoor classroom setting that fosters the learning of various topics including science, social studies, math, literacy, and nutrition.

One of the main goals of the school’s garden is to provide educational lessons that incorporate meaningful messages about nutrition. According to Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s education director, Jamie Levato, “taking part in garden-based learning encourages healthful eating and connects students to academic subjects in engaging ways.” Not only does the exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables allow students to develop healthy eating behaviors and food choices, but the involvement in their growth, maintenance, and harvest establishes a more purposeful connection that will follow students as they move into adolescence and adulthood. Mrs. Sullivan says, “the garden will play a critical role in establishing an environment that supports healthy behaviors while providing opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity.” Research shows that nurturing students’ interest in eating fruits and vegetables and improving their knowledge of nutrition can lead to improvements in eating habits, and thus academic performance, social skills and behavior.

Clinton School will have classes decide what to grow in the garden and spend one 40-minute period each week for garden bed maintenance or other educational activities like reading in the garden. Mr. Scott, says he knows that the garden “will promote healthy eating behaviors by providing our students with direct, hands-on learning experiences in the school garden.”  Additionally, students will be able to harvest and taste fresh produce. The success of the school garden program will be measured by student reports of their gardening experiences, including what activities they enjoyed, new fruits and vegetables they were able to taste, and what messages they took away from it.

On June 10th, 2016, there will be an outdoor, full-school assembly at 12:45pm followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1:30pm. This event will celebrate the importance of promoting health and well-being through student, faculty, and family participation in building and maintaining the school’s garden.