The second grade Farm to Table Museum showcases students' knowledge of the ways natural resources are harvested, stored, processed, packaged, sold, and consumed. In second grade, students learn about the local and global communities in which they live and their roles as citizens in those communities. By studying the process of how food goes from farm to table, students learn about managing natural resources and how individuals and businesses contribute to a community. The Farm to Table project cultivates a second grader's joy for learning by providing opportunities for hands-on learning that connect students to food, nature, and each other. “One thing I learned about lettuce is that it’s the second most popular vegetable in the US behind the potato,” said second grader, June Amend. “And I learned that maple syrup is fat free!” chimed in Pearl Taylor.
Complimenting their learning about natural resources, second grade participates in a yearlong community service project with Main Street Ministries Garden. Located a block from the School at the corner of Portland and Travis streets, Main Street Garden is open year round to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. All produce harvested from the garden is donated to the Heights Food Pantry, an open zip code food pantry. Each second grade class is responsible for a bed - planting and tending to it throughout the year. Students visit monthly for lessons, tastings and harvesting. “I love that I can help people with both the Food Pantry and in the garden.” said second grader, Elle Polky.
In addition to working in Main Street Gardens, students have the opportunity to visit the Blackwood Land Institute in Hempstead to learn about the concept of food systems. As they move about the farm, students learn about how food is grown, what makes a system sustainable, and the value of a healthy diet filled with locally grown produce. Students work together to gather fresh eggs, pick herbs, and prepare frittatas over an open fire griddle. A deliciously fun experience! “My favorite part was when we went to the farm to see everything and then also build my actual (Farm to Table) project,” said Sam Ngo, “because I was able to work on it with my family and spend more family time together.”
Additionally second graders visit the Houston Rodeo’s Agventure area to learn more about animals and the farm to plate process. Through its live animal exhibits, students see firsthand cows being milked, chicks hatching, bees making honey, and even baby animals coming into the world!
“All of these outdoor classroom experiences, combined with their practice of reading and writing nonfiction, prepares students to start their Farm to Table projects,” said second grade teacher, Patricia Tamminga. “Each student selects and researches a topic from farm to plate using books, printed articles, and videos. They learn the science behind their food, the process of going from a seed to their plate, and sees how nutritious foods benefit both the mind and body. This information is compiled to create a book and 3D model outlining the process. Students even learn about entrepreneurship and marketing through writing and performing a catchy commercial to promote their product.” The Farm to Table project culminates with a big presentation to parents and lower school students. “I love that I get to think about stuff on my own and that it’s a real project that we get to work on.” said Charlotte Loveday. “I learned that corn is a fruit, vegetable and grain!”
The Farm to Table project is not only a tradition at Presbyterian School for second graders, but also a means to help students engage their curiosity, learn to be resourceful and gain self-confidence. At its heart is a dynamic and joyful learning experience full of valuable life skills for students. It’s a way to celebrate the connections between students, farmers, and locally and regionally produced foods. Each year, millions of students, farmers, and communities across North America celebrate improving child nutrition, supporting local farmers and economies, and increasing food and nutrition education.