In addition to the three site-based programs offered–Dirt Girls, Common Core Cooking, and Youth Birding–The School Garden Doctor collaborates with several community-based organizations to complete projects and nurture partnerships.
School Gardens for Learning
School Gardens for Learning is a long-running grassroots approach to supporting the school garden movement in Napa County. Over the last decade, School Gardens for Learning has evolved, but the fundamental goals remain the same: growing school gardens through building capacity, sharing resources, and supporting horticultural learning within a community of practice.
Initially launched as a project of the UC Master Gardeners of Napa County called The School Garden Task Force, this project eventually coalesced into Napa Valley School Garden Network, led by Louann Talbert to increase the visibility and coordination of school garden educators.
In 2020, School Gardens for Learning became an official project of The School Garden Doctor and is jointly led by school garden educators and community members.
Farm to School Implementation
Garden Enhanced Nutrition Education
The Napa County Office of Education (NCOE) was able to serve an estimated 60 students during 2019-20 as part of the first funded USDA Farm-to-School Grant in Napa! A Garden Enhanced Nutrition Education program was implemented at three school sites: Taylor Mountain Elementary, Calistoga Jr./Sr. High School and Camille Creek Community School.
In partnership with The School Garden Doctor, six lead staff members within the after school program received support, guidance, and instruction through two in-person trainings. These Professional Learning opportunities were aimed at increasing staff capacity in the implementation of engaging and strategic lessons that would expose students to fresh, seasonal, local produce. Lessons were implemented weekly and students engaged in preparation of produce, taste testing, and gardening techniques.
Additionally, forty-five students attended a field trip to Shone Farm were they received a first hand look at a local farm and produce. Two more field trips to Connolly Ranch and the UC Davis Honey Bee Haven were postponed due to school closures.
NCOE provides numerous Community Programs, including After School and Expanded Learning as well as Prevention, Health and Wellness. This USDA Farm-to-School grant collaboration offers both!
Annual update submitted by Asha Levert-McDowell, COOL School Program Coordinator, Napa County Office of Education Community in May of 2020.
The Z Project!
During the summer of 2019, Napa school gardens grew veggies for the cafeteria! Dubbed The Z Project, this pilot involved ten school and community gardens in growing, harvesting, and selling zucchini/summer squash to for school lunch. Read more about The Z Project in The Napa Register.