Many farm to school education programs incorporate parent education as a part of their curriculum. There are many benefits of bringing parents into the program, and these can include:
- Holistic integration of healthy food eating behaviors
- More student familiarity of healthy foods, resulting in less cafeteria food waste
- Local farm product is more familiar at the store or farmers’ market, resulting in more economic benefit for farmers
- Parents learn about gardening alongside students, resulting in more community and backyard gardens
- And more!
Those were just a few examples of why bringing parents into farm to school programs works. Many non-profit organizations also give nutrition and cooking classes to parents in a way that is consistent with farm to school ideas.
Here are some programs with resources on how to effectively teach parents, from cooking to shopping.
Destination Dinner Table is a program of Generation Healthy Kids in Springfield, IL. From their website: “During this one and a half hour program, parents work in the kitchen alongside one of genHkids’ chefs, learning to prepare a nutritious, from-scratch meal quickly and easily. Meanwhile, genHkids’ staff and volunteers work with children, teaching them to set the table, working on basic etiquette, playing nutrition games and participating in Brain Breaks. When the meal is ready, all participants sit down to eat together family style. At the program’s conclusion, parents leave with important nutritional information, a weekly menu and shopping guide, and a sense of accomplishment and increased confidence in their ability to cook at home.”
Cooking Matters provides free resources, including lesson plans for all ages, recipes, handouts, and more, for those in the community who want to provide food education to families. Cooking Matters also offers hands on cooking classes taught by trained professionals for groups all over the country.
Does your organization offer free programming to parents of school children in farm to school programs? Contact the IFSN to get on this list.