Page 1

DF2S awards five $500 mini-grants across the district

Welcome to the new school year!

During the 2016-17 school year, Decatur Farm to School awarded five district schools with $500 mini-grants to use towards Farm to School supplies or curriculum. Each school used the funds in different ways, but towards one common goal -- to get more students learning outside. City Schools of Decatur teachers have a lot of innovative ideas about incorporating farm to school principles into their class’ curricula, and Decatur Farm to School is so pleased to be able to support their creativity!

As part of the Wylde Center, Decatur Farm to School has partnered with City Schools of Decatur (CSD) to offer programs to our schools since 2009.

Dear Students, Teachers and Parents,

FALL 2017

Decatur Farm to School has been a success because parents like you donate your time and resources to the cause. Your support has allowed for eight amazing years of farm to school experiences, such as the DHS student summer internships, district-wide taste tests, CSD kitchen staff trainings, conference scholarships for CSD students and teachers, and school garden donations, just to name a few!

At the 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue, every 4th and 5th grader participated in three garden days planting, harvesting, and taste testing their produce.

Westchester Elementary kindergarteners visited the Oakhurst Garden to learn about bees. They also planted flowers in their school garden and have observed pollinators.

Glennwood Elementary was able to purchase a new weatherproof shed to store their garden teaching tools.

SAVE THE DATE! Next Decatur Farm to School Dine Out is November 29, 2017. All proceeds support internships, grants, taste tests, and scholarships.

Interested in becoming involved? Join the committee, volunteer for a taste test, pull weeds with your child in the gardens, buy a t-shirt, or reach out to us to plan your next farm to school activity! Finally, be sure to eat out for the Fall Dine Out on Wednesday, November 29th. Thanks to you, our Spring Dine Out brought in more than $7000; let’s see how we can top that this Fall! Lucia Pawloski, Chair of the DF2S Committee

High School DF2S Interns Share Their Summer Work Experiences Since 2012, Decatur Farm to School has offered farm to school internships for Decatur High School students. The program has grown from offering two to now offering three internships each summer. The students work 60 hours and receive a $500 stipend. They split their time between working on a farm and working in a restaurant that serves locally sourced produce or at a farmers market. The proceeds from our twice a year dine outs support this program. Thank you, parents, for eating out and thank you to the many restaurants who generously donate a portion of their proceeds. Following are the essays written by our three 2017 summer interns.

Renfroe Middle School built accessible beds for students with limited mobility. The students will use the space to grow items for a newly established vegetable program for their teachers.

Oakhurst Elementary purchased enough supplies so that all of the classroom teachers successfully conducted an outdoor lesson in the garden. Supplies included watering cans, garden pails and trowels.

Skye McKinney

Decatur High School Senior

Farm to School in the Classroom this Fall Nichole Lupo, Wylde Center’s Decatur Farm to School manager is back in the classroom. She teaches each month at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, Frasier Center, and Glennwood Elementary. In addition to Nichole, you will also find Wylde Center educators at 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue this semester working with every 5th grader on non-vascular vs. vascular plant studies, beneficial vs. harmful bacteria, and physical vs. chemical changes. Their lessons always support the learning goals of the teacher or grade. When students plant fall vegetables, they are learning about plant needs and plant parts (Glennwood). Worm investigations tie back to studying living things (CHECLC and Frasier) and how Nichole Lupo plants lettuce they help us grow soil which grows healthy food. with Frasier Center Email to schedule your next Farm to School lesson. students.

Thank You Partners

Thank you to the City Schools of Decatur for supporting Farm to School initiatives. Printing funded in part by Decatur Atlanta Printing.

Contributors: Gabriel Boortz, Jess Lomas, Nichole Lupo, Skye McKinney, Erin

Murphy, Lucia Pawloski, Stephanie Van Parys

Write to us:,

435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030

Follow us online:

Facebook: Decatur Farm to School • Twitter: @DecaturF2S • Instagram: DecaturFarmtoSchool

Internship location: Global Growers Farm & Community Farmers Market

This is essentially what led me to apply for the Decatur Farm to School internship with Wylde Center. I was excited to get the answers to my questions and I believed that this internship would provide opportunities for me to examine the local food scene first-hand. I was right! I was nervous about feeling out of place and inexperienced. Both the first time I walked up to Global Grower’s Bamboo Creek Farm as well as my first day at the Decatur Farmer’s Market were nerve wracking. I was confused as to what exactly I was supposed to be doing and I began to question if I was truly qualified for the work I had just agreed to do. Fortunately, I found myself in love with the community in this field of work and quickly became comfortable. During this internship I was fond of every task from feeding worms to cleaning coolers to filling in for chef

Although food is a constant stream of thought on any teenager’s mind, it holds a different meaning for me. When I think about food I am typically wondering about the way it ended up on my plate. I have spent many hours in the garden and many nights procrastinating with projects centered around either plants or “I appreciated watching the work I was toying around with culinary philosophies. I recognized that food doing directly impact people’s days and is a centerpiece of our life that can easily be overlooked and I was hungry to answer some questions. Who planted the seed my lifestyles.” food came from and who cared for it? Who harvested the crop? How much energy and time did it take for my food to become my demos. I genuinely enjoyed my time. It reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in agriculture, however my internship this food? summer has redirected me towards policy and communications involving food sustainability and accessibility. “I believed that this internship would

provide opportunities for me to examine the local food scene first-hand.”

Additionally, working on the farm and at the farmer’s market really allowed me a glance into how this field of work functions. Continued on next page....

High School DF2S Interns Share Their Summer Work Experiences (Cont.)

Jess Lomas

Decatur High School Junior Internship location: Love is Love Farm & Leon’s Full Service On June 13th, the sun beat down through an overcast sky. The fields glistened with last night's rain, and the birds sang in the trees. It was the first day of my Farm to School internship, and I approached Love is Love Farm with a curious eye. My family prides itself on an “organic home garden”, so I was interested to see what a professional organic garden looked like. I was not disappointed. Love is Love Farm is a beautiful garden, full of a variety f plants. There’s always something to be done. From pulling weeds to planting baby peppers, to tying garlic in torrential rains, I was always busy. I discovered that I love being outside and seeing the work that was put into every seed and every harvest. I learned about the growing season for the plants that we harvested and was astounded at the forethought it takes to plant certain vegetables in order to have them be ripe when they are in demand. Luckily, Joe Reynolds, the head farmer at Love is Love, is a man with a plan. He knows each plant and each bed like the back of his hand. He is constantly improving the farm and cares about all the people for whom he works and those who work for him. I found myself with tears in my eyes as I left the last day, even though I knew I could come back anytime.

“I discovered that I love being outside and seeing the work that was put into every seed and every harvest.” In the second part of my internship, I worked back and front of house at Leon’s Full Service restaurant. I've never felt more at home with a group of people and learned so much at the same time. It was so incredible to see plants that I know I had picked or seen on the farm, such as radishes and herbs, being used at Leon's. I was able to try some of the dishes that used the farm fresh vegetables and the chefs truly are artists, the dishes are DELICIOUS!

Skye McKinney intern article continued

Since I have long aspired to attend Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, and, at Leon’s, I had a chance to speak with three Cordon Bleu chefs, this was an exciting opportunity. Upon having long and detailed conversations with them, I realized how I could use their experiences to find a more practical way to achieve my own culinary goals. I was also able to sit down and interview one of the managers at Leon's. I asked, “How important do you think the farm to table aspect of Leon's is to the quality of the food?” The manager replied, “We are a little bit in between. I think a lot of places are. Really expensive places can be strict on Farmto Table, but we can’t because there are certain (foods) that make a (completely farm to table) restaurant unsustainable. It's a really big deal to support Farm to Table. I think that what serving local does is that it makes everything next to the fresh produce seem important. For instance, we have

“I've never felt more at home with a group of people and learned so much at the same time.” a dish that’s local okra, cherry tomatoes, mayo and catsup. Because the produce is grown by somebody other then the chef who doesn't have a lot of experience or had any conversations about Farm to Table, he/she still wants to make the produce look good because the cherry tomatoes are beautiful. Even when you get something that (wasn’t locally sourced) and put it next to something that is, that makes you realize that the farmer still worked and sweat over this food. Farm to Table makes real the connection between food that a lot of the pre-farm to table movement food didn’t.” She was able to answer my questions so thouroughly that my knowledge and understanding of the food industry continued to grow. At Leon’s, I worked as a Line Cook, Expeditor, Server, and Pastry Chef. In each of these roles, I learned technique, multitasking, time management, etc. I learned that I enjoy front of house, almost as much as I enjoy back of house. I loved this internship and all the people I worked with, from the tireless chefs and staff at Leon’s, to the diligent farmers at Love is Love. I fell in love with the smell of dirt and organic fresh potatoes frying. I came home tired and hungry for more.

I was able to learn about some systems that are not as efficient as possible and others that are extremely effective such as the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program with Community Farmers Markets. I appreciated watching the work I was doing directly impact people’s days and lifestyles. This led to the most intrinsically rewarding part of the internship; me realizing that the work I was doing was helping healthy food become more accessible and seeing that I was helping excite community members about sustainable food. This moment reshaped my perspective and lead me to value community involvement in a completely new light.

people who work every day to provide us with adequate food. I whole heartedly enjoyed my time at Sugar Creek and I hope to volunteer there or similar installations in the future.

Gabriel Boortz

Decatur High School Senior Internship location: Sugar Creek Herb Farm & Farm Burger I have always had an infatuation with the living world. From deep sea cephalopods like the Vampire Squid to the colossal coastal Redwoods of California, my interests were constantly flitting between various families and classifications of organisms. Gradually, out of my dedication to biology grew a smaller branch of investment into the study of herbalism, ancient medicines and poisons and all the history that comes with them. It was this smaller branch that led me to applying for this internship, and despite only being informed of its existence the day before the application deadline, I managed to secure it (no small relief to me). With my application to this internship, I hoped to participate in a more organized means of botany and herbology, and through that participation gain a more in- depth understanding of the field of herbalism and gardening. Sugar Creek Farm was my first experience at a professional

“I know now how physically and mentally taxing it can be to work on a farm, and have doubled my respect for the people who work every day to provide us with adequate food.” farm, and while the plot of land the farm sat on was actually quite small, the range of crops and efficiency practiced there were indicative of how an organic farm of any size would operate. The work there reflected this, and I went home every day sore in some way, though not regretting the time I spent laboring over the myriad of herbs and vegetables that were being raised. My time at Sugar Creek gave me an added layer of perspective into the production of food, because even though I was familiar with many of the procedures and techniques involved in agriculture as opposed to my own small scale horticultural endeavors, I wasn’t physically familiar with the work and effort needed to maintain a professional grade agricultural installation. I know now how physically and mentally taxing it can be to work on a farm, and have doubled my respect for the


In honor of October’s National Farm to School month, CSD cafeteria will highlight legumes (peas, lentils, beans). In addition, be sure to buy lunch October 9-13 because it’s National School Lunch week. Best way to support local in our cafeteria is to buy lunch. Thank you!

Though I expected to enjoy my time at Sugar Creek, I wasn’t so sure about the culinary side of the internship. Though I do like food, I have never been involved in any food preparation much bigger than helping make dinner with my family, and while I didn’t dislike the idea of working in a restaurant, I wasn’t nearly as excited for that aspect of the program as I was for the farming portion. When the restaurant end of my internship did come around, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The main thing I liked about working at Farm Burger was how heavily they tied in their connection to local and organic farms into their work and general atmosphere. Special attention is paid to providing customers with information about the dishes and where its ingredients came from. This information expounds on Farm Burger’s general theme of sustainability and responsibly sourced food. Working in a restaurant, especially one as busy as Farm Burger, provides a constant stream of activity that is different from other tasks in a high schooler’s life. Running food back and forth, bussing tables, and making sure all your customers are satisfied provides you with the feeling of maintaining a finely tuned machine where every piece needs to be working correctly for the mechanism as a whole to function. As someone who likes to feel busy, this aspect of working at Farm Burger was the most appealing, and while it could be obtained by working at any number of restaurants, the laid- back atmosphere and friendly co-workers made it that much more pleasant to work there. Besides the obvious work experiences in a restaurant, my future was given a more concrete shape after this internship through establishing an understanding of a line of work I anticipate working in in the near future. Before this internship, I had some vague notions of taking a gap year between high school and college to work on a WWOOF certified organic farm. After experiencing what I did during my time working at Sugar Creek Farm, I am positive that working on an organic farm for a year between high school and college is what I want to do, and I expect my time farming here in Decatur has prepared me for work on another farm wherever I decide to go. Thank you for supporting Decatur Farm to School.

2017 Fall Decatur Farm to School Newsletter  

The Decatur Farm to School newsletter is printed quarterly highlighting activities happening in the schools, in their gardens, and the nutri...

2017 Fall Decatur Farm to School Newsletter  

The Decatur Farm to School newsletter is printed quarterly highlighting activities happening in the schools, in their gardens, and the nutri...