Heather Baril is the food service director at the North Attleboro School District. We learned all about the new program she developed to help teachers integrate Harvest of the Month into the classroom.
Procurement: The North Attleboro school district uses a variety of distributors for produce, including Nasiff , Costa , and Farm Fresh Rhode Island . Heather particularly enjoys working with Farm Fresh Rhode Island because Announcements / News Harvest of the Month Profile: North Attleboro Public Schools they track both the farms and the items they supply. With this information, she promotes local foods in her Harvest of the Month activities by indicating where the produce came from.
Promotion & Implementation One of the most effective ways that Heather engages students with Harvest of the Month is through a classroom program she created called Harvest of the Month Boxes. At the start of the school year, she reached out teachers (and principals) by email and set up an online sign-up asking if they would like to receive a monthly Harvest Box, which includes, the Harvest of the Month featured product, trading cards, stickers, and activity recommendations. Teachers can pick them up in the front office of their school on the selected Harvest Delivery Day.
Heather emphasized the importance of providing different colors and varieties of each Harvest of the Month product, and keeping them whole for students to see what they look like when they are unprocessed. This also allows for teachers to facilitate activities that allow kids to observe it from the outside, cut it open to see the seeds, and taste test it. The boxes have been so successful at the Martin School that the kitchen manager will frequently have conversations with students at lunch about the Harvest of the Month. Another way that Heather has created excitement and interest around the monthly harvest is with Chef Days. She has partnered with Tri County Regional Vocational Technical High Schoo l in Franklin and hosts a chef once a month to do a demonstration with students. Managers order the produce, and Heather will pick a simple recipe that includes the local food and simultaneously follows school lunch requirements. Based on student feedback, she adds it to the lunch menu. With many new recipes, she’ll start introducing it gradually before adding it to every school’s menu. This year, Heather also was able to purchase and install Tower Gardens in several schools in her district. Students are learning how to grow greens in these gardens, which are installed indoors and which use grow lights.
Click Here to see Massachusetts farm to School Profile: Harvest of the Month Profile