"What we know," Poughkeepsie Farm Project education director Jamie Levato told the Seeds of Change conference audience, "is if you get kids excited about vegetables, if you show them what they can prepare, if you provide a fun and interesting learning environment with caring loving adults, they will love vegetables. They won't love them just baked into a muffin, or with some cinnamon and sugar on top, they will love to eat slices of raw turnip; they will love to eat raw kale."
Poughkeepsie Farm Project, based in the city of Poughkeepsie, New York, is the recipient of the 2015 Omega Center for Sustainable Living Leadership in Sustainable Education Award. The award was presented at the Seeds of Change conference on October 10.
“We are delighted to recognize Poughkeepsie Farm Project as a nonprofit that has made great strides with community partners to increase support for growing and serving local food in schools,” Omega CEO Robert “Skip” Backus said.
In the first half of 2015, Poughkeepsie Farm project served some 2,000 participants in farm visits, school nutrition programs, and a newly created high school intern program, nearly a 100 percent increase in reach from the year before.
Levato summed up the importance of teaching children about where food comes from, what it takes to grow it, and what foods to eat: “Kids in urban environments often have less access to fresh vegetables and the great outdoors. Without that exposure, familiarity, and access, they are not as likely to make the choice to eat vegetables.”
As part of this award, Poughkeepsie Farm Project receives $10,000 and a strategic planning retreat at Omega, to help strengthen organizational development and further its mission.