Due to covid-19 safety considerations and restrictions, in 2020 and 2021 we were/are not able to conduct our usual classroom lessons and field trips to farmers markets, farms and community gardens to teach local children about healthy eating, growing food and our Humboldt food system.
Instead, we decided to create free take-home educational activity kits to families who use EBT at the farmers market or utilize our Harvest Box program with EBT funds, or who receive a free Harvest Box provided through Open Door Health Centers. With many kids going to school from home, families have expressed that they are in need of more educational experiences that can be done in the safety of their homes. These kits are a response to that need. 280 kits were created in 2021 that are estimated to have served about 300 children since many households have more than one child.
The kits were created by NCGA and Open Door Community Health Centers where staff are well trained in educational material development. Funding was provided by NCGA, Open Door Coomunity Health Centers and by a generaous grant from Humboldt Sponsors, a long time supporter of this program year after year.
Humboldt Sponsors offers grants supporting educational, recreational, and cultural enrichment opportunities and assisting youth-oriented programs that provide basic needs.
The kits created include:
- An activity that teaches kids about Bugs. The kit includes an in-depth insect lesson hand out, a magnifying box to collect and identify bugs at home, and a fun lady bug mask and instructions.
- An activity that teaches kids about Plant Parts: The kit includes information about the parts of plants, a fun worksheet and a coloring sheet. Each kit comes with a clear plastic cup, soil, seeds, decorating supplies and instructions for an activity to grow seeds in their home windowsill and study and track their growth.
- A kit to grow chives at home. This kit includes a 6” clay put, soil, seeds, and fun googly eyed and other decorations for the pot. This kit provides a great easy home-growing experience for kids of all ages and information about growing food.
- A lavender sock pillow kit. Containing local organic dried lavender, this kit talks about the calming effects of lavender and instructions and tools to create their own aromatherapy pillow out of a mismatched sock they have at home.
- A rainbow prism kit. This kit provides a glass prism, fishing line and beads along with instructions on creating a hangable window prism. Detailed information is provided about the power of the sun to grow food and the elements of light that create colors.
*All kits include information about eating local food on a budget, a guide and chart to seasonal eating, information about our sponsors (that’s you!), and a booklet created to teach kids about healthy and affordable food choices.
*All kits were created with recycled materials and compostable or recyclable packaging when possible to minimize waste.
Interested in a Kit?
Kits are available to EBT customers at our farmers' markets while supplies last. Ask you farmers market manager to find out more.
My child experienced hours of fun (and learning!) as a result of the collection of activities. It was a well-thought-out package; having complete components for each project made it a convenient activity and easy to dive into! Even to this day, we're still monitoring the plants that we grew from the seeds! That was a fantastic way to augment our weekend plans and I just really, really appreciate the thought and work that went into funding, designing, and creating that experience for our community! (And I'm not alone in this opinion!) Thank you!
The well established Know Your Farmer Program, created by the Community Alliance of Family Farmers (CAFF), has been providing high quality educational field trips for many years in Humboldt County. The North Coast Growers’ Association is honored to have been operating the Know Your Farmer Program since 2017 in partnership with the North Coast Regional Land Trust and Open Door Community Health Centers, and with partial funding provided by Humboldt Sponsors.
NCGA recognizes that students in Humboldt County schools with predominantly low income students receive the least amount of opportunities for education on food and nutrition, food security and sustainable agriculture. Our program will concentrates on Eureka schools with predominantly low-income students, and students that have not yet participated in the Know Your Farmer program.
The Know Your Farmer program provides in-class lessons as well as field trips to farms, farmers' markets and community gardens. We believe that positive food experiences that start early will last a lifetime. Our work is geared towards K-4th grade students, helping to shape their eating habits and preferences for healthy options at a young age.
There are many important health correlations between early childhood nutrition education including specifically a reduction in obesity. Increasing rates of childhood obesity and diabetes are widespread across the nation, and California is no exception. According to the California Department of Education, 32% of youth are overweight, 74% are unfit, and 51% eat a maximum of one fruit or vegetable serving each day. California Food Policy Advocates claims that 34% of our 7th graders and 58% of adults are overweight in Humboldt County. California’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity recommends increasing the quantity and quality of health education while ensuring the availability of healthy food in schools. NCGA incorporates both of approaches into the Know Your Farmer Program.
The Know Your Farmer education program offers hands-on nutrition education in the classroom, on working farms, at farmers' markets and at community gardens and teaches students the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption and about local agriculture and the food system.
We focus our comprehensive approach on low-income schools where the majority of students participate in the National School Lunch Program and receive free or reduced price school meals, indicating that these children’s families are at or below 185% of the poverty line. In Humboldt County, 52% percent of schoolchildren are eligible for free or reduced price lunches. By enhancing nutrition education and access to healthy food, we are positively impacting the health of one of our community’s most vulnerable populations. At the same time, we help strengthen our economy by developing market opportunities by increasing the exposure of the region’s small family farms.
Through age-appropriate, educational, and fun activities, we connect students to the source of all food—agriculture— Know Your Farmer inspires children to eat healthy and unprocessed fresh foods. Students learn about sustainable food production in their own community and develop relationships with farmers, farmers' market managers and community garden coordinators. This approach helps encourages students to make good choices about a range of subjects – from the types of farms they support, to the level of processed foods they eat, to the variety of fruits and vegetables they try.
The Know Your Farmer Program includes:
Farmer or Farmer’s Market Staff’s Visit to the Classroom for a Local Food System Lesson: Impresses upon students the importance of small farms in their community. Encourages students to think critically about where their food comes from including the bigger picture of how their food gets from seed to table.
Field Trip to a Local Farm: Allows students to observe firsthand how produce is grown, and make a more personal connection to healthy food. Students rotate through four standards-based activities on plants, compost, insects, and nutrition, including a tasting of farm fresh produce.
Field Trip to a Local Farmers’ Market: Provides for a full-circle experience of the connection between growing the food and getting that food to the community. Students are guided through activities that help them learn about the deep history of farmers’ markets across the world, and how farmers’ markets and grocery stores that sell local produce are a critical part of a healthy food system.
Know Your Farmer provides a strong foundation for understanding the food system, and a more personal relationship with healthy food. We are utilizing the proven strategy that children who learn about food and farming are more willing to try new foods and healthier options, and more likely to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Please contact us to find out more about this program.
Ivy North, Director of Programs
(707) 441-9999 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivy North, Director of Programs
(707) 441-9999 email@example.com
This program is made possible with support from
and by a grant from