Waterman Elementary students learning concept of farm to table in hands-on ways

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:24 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Students at Waterman Elementary in Harrisonburg are learning about eating healthy and how those healthy foods can help the planet.

Through community collaboration and a school garden here at Waterman Elementary, staff and students are actively learning about where their food comes from.

“They want you know, ‘Oh I want something to compost!’ but then we teach them you peel the banana and then you eat it, and then we’re only collecting banana peels,” Educational Outreach Program Coordinator Kathy Yoder said.

Yoder is the educational outreach program coordinator for Vine and Fig, a sub-organization of the New Community Project.

The nonprofit works to educate groups in the Harrisonburg area about environmental sustainability, for example, through the recently added three-bin composting system at Waterman.

“It’s not about putting the food into the compost bin it’s food scraps. And then thinking about also reducing the use of food like what kinds of food are hitting the waste stream and then you know it’s cost-effective also.” Yoder said.

A big focus this year in Harrisonburg City Public Schools this year has been on farm to table by sourcing any ingredients available for school lunches through local farmers.

“We had a total of I think seven different farmers that came to visit the schools and so the kids got to meet them face to face and talk about where food grows,” Yoder said.

Executive Director of School Nutrition Andrea Early says through the programs students are actively learning about nutrition.

“This is teaching students about how their food grows and where it comes from and the importance of reducing food waste and doing that through composting of food scraps,” Early said.

Yoder says in each session with the students there are always important lessons about the food they grow and eat, and some funny ones too.

“To be in that soccer game after school or to play at recess or to get the education you really need to fuel your body and so we talk about okay what if you want really wonderful hair, so if need some help with your hair then what good foods do you eat?,” Yoder said.