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What is Decatur Farm to School?

435 Oakview Road Decatur, Ga 30030 404.371.1920


elcome to the new school year! For some of you,this may also be your first year in the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) school system. As such, you might be wondering “What is Decatur Farm to School (DF2S)?” As a branch of the Wylde Center, we have partnered with CSD to provide Farm to School initiatives since 2009.

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We use this newsletter as a way to keep all of our CSD parents and faculty informed about the great programs happening every day in the classrooms, in the gardens, in the cafeteria and in the community. Our committee is comprised of parents, students and CSD faculty. One of the big reasons DF2S has been a success is because our volunteers and parents like you contribute your time, expertise and resources.

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Purpose of newsletter: To keep parents, students, school personnel, community members, and other interested parties informed of the Wylde Center’s Decatur Farm to School programming in the community.

Fall 2014

How Did DF2S Start?

Radishes: Our Fall Taste Test (2014 DF2S Internship, Continued)

Declan Tillman: Internship at Sugar Creek Garden and Farm Burger


his summer I had the opportunity to be an intern for Decatur Farm to School, which not only gave me some money in my pocket, but also some great experiences. I was interested in this internship because I wanted to learn what it takes to have an organically grown garden. Also, I wanted to gain some work experience. Throughout this internship, I met new people, sweated a lot and had fun. At the beginning of my internship, I worked at Sugar Creek Garden. To prepare for a day at work in the garden, I made myself some lunch and filled a couple of water bottles. Then, I would hop onto my bicycle and ride through Oakhurst down to the garden. Once there, I would meet up with Dara, the site coordinator/head gardener at Sugar Creek Garden. I spent my time there pulling weeds and making a Hugelkultur bed. Hugelkultur is the process of building raised beds. You do this by digging a hole that is approximately 18 inches into the ground, filling it with logs and other plant material like vegetable scraps and then covering it with dirt. Working at Sugar Creek Garden was one fun and sweat-filled experience.

After working at Sugar Creek Garden, I worked at Farm Burger. In my first week, I was assigned to be the bus boy. At first I was kind of scared, but the employees there urged me on and assured me that the customers wouldn’t bite. On my last day at Farm Burger, I worked in the back kitchen where I made French fries and sweet potato fries. Making French fries was the easy part. The sweet potato fries were a completely different story. Sweet potatoes are a lot harder than regular potatoes, so it is a lot more difficult to chop them up. After making the fries, I had to clean up the prep area. The machine that I used to make the fries was annoying to clean because it had a lot of small crevices. Overall, my experience with this internship was a very good one. I learned a lot and met new people. I learned that it takes hard work and special knowledge to grow food and then cook and serve it in a restaurant. Thanks to this internship, I have grown a lot as a person.

Thank You Partners

Contributors: Melanie Heckman, Isha Hussef,

Thank you to the City Schools of Decatur for supporting Farm to School initiatives in their schools.

Write to us:

Zoey Laird, Nichole Lupo, Erin Murphy, Lucia Pawloski, Nikki Speake, Declan Tillman, Stephanie Van Parys

Printing funded in part by Decatur Atlanta Printing. 435 Oakview Road • Decatur, GA 30030


n September, every school garden in City Schools of Decatur will be planted with radishes in preparation for the district-wide Fall Taste Test scheduled for mid-October. Many students have enjoyed planting, caring for, harvesting, and tasting fresh radishes straight out of the garden in past seasons. While we typically taste them raw in a variety of ways, roasting radishes is a great way to utilize your healthy garden harvest and enjoy the tasty comfort of a sweet, smoky, oven-roasted root vegetable. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, save your radish greens and wilt them gently in a bit of butter to devour with your roots.

Roasted Radishes

(adapted from Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients 2 bunches radishes, washed and trimmed 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon dried thyme ½ lemon, juiced Salt to taste Directions 1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 2.Cut radishes into halves; cut any large radishes into quarters. Stir olive oil and thyme together in a bowl and toss radishes in mixture to coat. Spread radishes onto prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. 3.Roast in the preheated oven until tender but firm in the centers, tossing every 5 minutes, 15 to 20 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice.

In 2007, a group of CHECLC parents came together with CSD’s Nutrition Department to offer healthier menu options. In 2009, with community input and help from Georgia Organics and the Wylde Center, a three-year farm to school implementation plan was submitted and unanimously approved by the CSD School Board. Decatur Farm to School was born! Since that time, Wylde Center staff and DF2S volunteers have been working with CSD leaders, teachers, students, and the community to raise awareness and make real results happen every day through teacher trainings, kitchen staff trainings, cooking lessons, gardening, teacher & DHS student conference grants, school garden grants, and taste tests.

How You May Support DF2S: Donate to the Wylde Center. DF2S is a program of the Wylde Center. Every year, the Wylde Center must raise $106,000 to run the Farm to School program. We depend on raising 25% of that amount ($26,500) from donors like you. How are we putting your donation to work? Wylde educators and volunteers are working with CSD students in the classroom and gardens, planning for the bi-annual systemwide taste test, training CSD teachers, and supporting cafeteria improvements. A donation of any amount makes this program possible. Donate today at Volunteer. CSD parents are what makes DF2S a reality. We need your help with our fun events such as the Dine-Out, school taste tests, selling t-shirts and writing articles. Serve on the DF2S Committee. You may also join a committee. For more information, please visit our website at www., like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Cafeteria News • Thanks to a grant, we now have industrial-sized Vitamix blenders for Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School. We are pleased to announce that we are now serving smoothies once a week at breakfast on “Vegetarian Tuesdays.” Each smoothie provides one cup of fruit and/or berries. • Our “Try It” menu item for the fall season is Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. All students will receive a serving of the tasty and colorful grain side dish with their meals. Each serving offers some of our local produce of the month: tomato. • Starting this school year, grades K-3 now participate with the other grades in “offer versus serve,”a concept that was created to reduce plate waste. Students are allowed to decline two out of five food components, but must choose at least a half-cup of a vegetable or fruit, or a combination of both in smaller portions.

Volunteer Spotlight: Michele Klopper

Come Dine Out in November



ichele Klopper is another great example of the many dedicated parent volunteers that we are fortunate to have. She shows her support through Dine Outs and taste test participation, as well as by handling important projects that garner little reward or attention, such as the implementation of the online T-shirt sales site,www. Michele says, “I support DF2S for several reasons. I think it’s important to introduce our children to whole, natural foods so they can develop healthy eating habits. DF2S provides

Decatur High School Students Successfully Complete Summer Internships

opportunities for our kids to learn from where “real” food comes. And I appreciate how the DF2S programs develop a sense of community.” DF2S succeeds because of wonderful, hardworking folks like Michele. We cannot thank them enough for their support!

Spring Taste Test Results: Rocket Takes Off in City Schools of Decatur


ocket was new to over 60% of the students who participated in the taste test. Despite being a new vegetable to so many, a whopping 94% of students tried it - our highest number ever, and a 6% increase compared to the fall’s sweet potato taste test. While only 44% of students who tasted the rocket liked it, this is still more than we expected to like this spicy, sometimes bitter green. What’s more, 31% of students who previously disliked or hadn’t tried arugula became rocket fans! We also saw that more education and experience with arugula led to more students trying it. For example, Ms. Pitts’ Kindergarten class – who spent lots of time in the garden tasting, describing, advertising, and interacting with the arugula – were more likely to try and like it than the other Kindergarten classes at Winnona Park. Thanks to all of our adventurous students, excellent teachers, and faithful volunteers for helping “rocket” take off in CSD this spring!


Evin Galang and her daughter Kesiah enjoy dinner at Farm Burger at the Spring 2014 Dine Out.

e hope you’ll plan to dine out on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, from 5pm to 9pm to support Decatur Farm to School at our bi-annual fundraiser. Some of your favorite restaurants will be participating, including: Brick Store Pub, Cakes & Ale, The Iberian Pig, Farm Burger, Leon’s Full Service, Raging Burrito, Sapori di Napoli, Seven Hens and more. As our main fundraiser, our restaurant partners donate a percentage of the evening’s profits to support DF2S. Show your support for DF2S’s programs by enjoying a dinner out in Decatur. There will be great raffle prizes to win and t-shirts to purchase. Plan to meet some friends, and enjoy dinner and drinks on the town for a great cause.

DF2S Donates Books to CSD Libraries to Coincide with Fall Taste Tests


ust in time for this season’s taste test, Decatur Farm to School is donating two books to the CSD elementary libraries. Rah Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre is being donated to College Heights Childhood Early Learning Center, and Plants: Stems and Roots by David Schwartz will be donated to the elementary schools and F.Ave. These books will complement the lessons and experiences the children will have. Pre-K through 5th graders will all assist in the radish plantings at their respective schools, and we hope that every elementary student will try (and enjoy) tasting the radishes at the taste tests in October that they helped grow!

Food Reviews from CSD Students


very cafeteria in CSD has a Suggestions Box in which students can provide their feedback for the food they do and do not like. In addition, when introducing new foods, the Nutrition Department conducts student surveys. Here are a few samples of the constructive feedback we have received: Q1: Should we add smoothies to the menu? If so,why? “It’s good. Add it because it is healthy for us and we need to try something new.” Q2: Does it need improvement? If so, what would you change? “I think you should work on making it sweeter and get rid of the banana after-taste.”

sha Hussef, Zoey Laird, and Declan Tillman were chosen to participate in this year’s Decatur Farm to School summer internship program. Each Decatur High student worked 60 hours training in Farm to School concepts, as well as worked at two locations to gain exposure to both the agricultural and consumer sides of Farm to Table. Each student received a $500 stipend and the program was managed by Nichole Lupo, Wylde Center’s Garden to Classroom Educator. Following are summaries of their work experiences.

Isha Hussef: Internship at Love is Love Farm & Leon’s Full Service


ach person has their own meaning for the words “work” and “experience”. For some, work is a time-consuming obligation; for others it can be a once-in-alifetime experience of dedication, pride, effort and sacrifice. For me, work takes dedication, passion and a desire to try something new -- like my experience at Love is Love Farm. Gardening out in the hot sun made me feel as if I was working out each day. I worked with Joe, an amazing farmer and businessman, who didn’t just teach me the basics about farming such as harvesting, storage, the life cycle of plant, and the importance of good soil. He taught me the skills of hard work, which includes sweat and passion for anyone who wants to be involved with agriculture or in the food industry. Working in agriculture is like having the entire world in your hand. Hard work is the key to success, and a farmer has to be willing to make an effort in order to grow produce and market it. At Leon’s Full Service, I didn’t have to be out in the hot sun, but I still had to be on my feet, and it was really fast-paced work. Every second that I worked with Heather, the manager of Leon’s (and the sweetest person I ever met), she made me feel welcome. As the hungry customers kept coming in to eat, I found myself extremely busy at Leon’s, whether I was in the kitchen or out serving tables. Even though I had some previous culinary experience from school, the restaurant was a different world that I needed to discover. Everything went so fast and each day was different for me, whether it was communicating with customers, supporting the kitchen and bar staff, making menus, or setting up tables. I experienced a real workplace, where there was no time to waste nor a place for excuses. It was so busy, I hardly had a chance to catch my breath! However, all the delicious food and warm-hearted people that surrounded me brought joy to my heart, and made me wish the internship lasted longer. I discovered within those twelve days how this internship is a great opportunity for anyone who’s eager to learn. The only expectation needed for this internship is a positive attitude and a willingness to work hard. My bosses Heather and Joe taught me that there is no room for excuses. They only expect the best from you, whether it’s keeping your head held high or lightening the day with a smile. I learned that doing these simple things can trigger a change in you and everyone else around you. In conclusion, whether it’s farming outside all day or working fullspeed in a restaurant, I had an extraordinary experience and a great opportunity I wouldn’t have gained if it weren’t for the Decatur Farm To School Internship Program.

Zoey Laird: Internship at Bamboo Creek Farm and Farmer’s Market Consortium


felt honored to have been selected for the Seed to Stand Wylde Center internship this summer, but I was unsure what the job would entail besides working outside and learning about farmer’s markets. On the first day, I showed up at Global Growers Bamboo Creek Farm with trepidation about my role -- and then the beauty of the place struck me: the rows of different crops, the bamboo forest, and the shade trees. Stephenie and Monica were my “co-workers” for three weeks on Sundays and Wednesdays. Refugees from all over the globe work the farm at Bamboo Creek, and their produce is sold to help them earn a living. While we packed CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bags with the farmers’ crops, refugees chatted with us, worked their land, and many harvested bamboo to use for construction or food. Bamboo Creek has the warm atmosphere of a place where people help each other, and I became a part of a community working towards a common goal – to create livelihoods and purpose in peoples’ lives. It’s awesome that careers are borne from organizations like Global Growers, which gives Monica and Stephenie a fulfilling way of earning a monthly paycheck. On Wednesdays, I helped man the booth at the Decatur Farmer’s Market. We sold vegetables, and I took pride in the products. It feels good to sell stuff that’s good for the consumers and the producers. Both parties benefit, and we, the vendors, act as the bridge between them. I saw people of all ethnicities who were willing to brave the heat for higher quality products, and who care about what they eat. Like Bamboo Creek Farm, the sense of community was there. The farmers put their personal interest into the produce they sell – their minds and hearts, which helps make it a completely different experience than buying a plastic wrapped chicken breast in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. For the following three weeks, I worked at CFM (Community Farmers Markets) which is like the main engine that powers all the farmers markets. I attended the Thursday East Atlanta Farmers Market, the Saturday and Wednesday Decatur Farmers Markets, and the Sunday Grant Park Market. Although each had a different vibe, the common thread was the teamwork and dedication of bringing fresh produce to each community, four times a week. It is inspiring to see how smooth and professionally CFM works. They are so well-staffed that there wasn’t a lot of extra work, but simply experiencing the market was enough. There is a true sense of kinship between the vendors. Each tent has its own place that is unique and full of energy. I found it hard not to get caught up in their positive energy and want to stay there all day. All the love and passion that goes into these endeavors is really powerful, and it’s an experience I will always remember. It made me realize that we are all connected by the need for quality food, and that the earth – the source of all of our food -- is the same in Africa, Asia, and America. No matter how difficult life is for refugees, their crops are a way of life, no matter where they are in the country. In the future, I hope to see the farmer’s market movement expanding to lower income people, so everyone can afford produce that powers their bodies and directly affects the lives of its producers. (Story continues on the back page)

Decatur Farm to School Newsletter Fall 2014  

Arugula results! Summer intern reports. Read all about it!

Decatur Farm to School Newsletter Fall 2014  

Arugula results! Summer intern reports. Read all about it!