Food Systems & Gardening
Princeton School Gardens Cooperative
school gardens & garden-based education
What types of foods are being offered to children at school? How has this changed over the past few years, and what kinds of changes might be anticipated for the future? Are school gardens contributing to the quantity and/or variety of foods offered to and consumed by children?
The Cooperative would like to know about existing farms in the area. Which types of locally- and regionally-grown produce could be available to Princeton-area school districts? What quantities of fruits and vegetables are available and when?
What would be the effect of a school system spending its food dollars locally? What kind of changes might occur in the local economy and state tax base? What can be learned from the experience of other nearby schools and districts that have begun to incorporate healthy foods and farm-to-school programs?
Princeton School Gardens Cooperative's website
Real Food for Thought (Hopewell)
school gardens & support for local agriculture
School gardens are growing in NJ schools, and community gardens are also being utilized to enrich classroom instruction for students from schools without garden space. Real Food for Thought would like to determine how prevalent this practice is: How many community gardens are affiliated in some way with their local schools in New Jersey? To what extent is the practice of using gardens to educate students about nutrition and regular classroom subjects supported by other entities outside the schools?
The Farm-to-School movement is gaining traction nationwide. Students could document models of school systems working successfully with local farmers. How did they work with the school district, the food service providers, and the farmers? What kind of political will was required? Case studies could come from Vermont, Oregon, California, Minnesota, and Maryland.
What does opting out of the USDA commodities program do to a school district budget and/or the decisions about which foods are offered in cafeterias? If a district opts out of the commodities program, as the state of Minnesota has done, how large is the resulting increase in food costs? What are schools doing to offset this cost increase?