Lettuce seeks to be urban farmers that are truly integrated into the communities across Austin. Lettuce has school farms from 78757 to 78744. We are in your neighborhood.
Our schools program allows us to reach a diverse set of communities and creates a space for children to become familiar with sustainability, food, and health. Every school farm directly gives money back to your school through a percentage donation generated by a subscription code. This could amount to thousands of dollars going back to your school year after year.
If you have ever wondered what it takes to get a Lettuce Farm in your school, here’s how:
Initially we seek to make a connection with a principal, teacher, PTA member, or enthusiastic parent involved in the school community. Once we have a contact within the school we will schedule a meeting to come out and discuss further and complete a site visit. This first meeting we go over the fine details of our Lettuce school program and walk the grounds of the school to find a suitable spot for a Lettuce farm. We are not picky on land size. We are looking for anywhere from 1,000 sq ft and up! The land needs to have full sun (min 6+hrs/day), access to a water source, and good soil. Step one is complete!
After our meeting I will draft up a contract specific to your school and send it your way via email. This is when the school spends some time reviewing the contract, asking any questions, and making any minor changes that are needed. The majority of the contract covers Lettuce’s responsibilities and requirements for caring for our farm on school grounds. If initial contacts are not principals, they can review the contract but the principal of your school will have any final say and sign the contract.
Your contract is signed! It is time to get working on getting your Lettuce farm. We don’t normally farm in raised beds. Instead, we use the native soil and enhance it with compost as needed. Because we are farming in the ground, we have to process that plot of land through tilling and tarping. We til up the land to tear up any grass that currently exists there and loosen up the soil to make it easier to work with in the future. Then we cover the land with a dark tarp to solarize the grass and kill any of the rhizomes that might exist below the soil. This is about a two month waiting period. Your Lettuce farm will feel dormant but after two months it will become active and abundant.
This is the fun part. After your two month period of dormancy the farm is about to become teaming with life. We will remove the tarp and get to planting and seeding your new Lettuce farm! At this stage, children from your school will have the opportunity to come out and help plant and seed. This is when all of the excitement begins and our Lettuce farm starts to pay off for your students.
Although Lettuce will occasionally host lesson days at your farm, choosing to work with one of our non-profit partners will offer you more complete and structured lessons over the course of the school year. To find out more info on these programs please contact the School Program Coordinator at email@example.com and/or visit our partner’s websites: Common Threads & PEAS.
We appreciate and value each school community we have been grateful enough to become a part of and we look forward to growing a farm and a community at your school. If you are a teacher, parent, or principal and would love to have Lettuce at your school please fill out our Lettuce for School Contact Form near the bottom of our schools page and our School Program Coordinator will be in touch.
We are excited to become an integral part of schools within AISD, and beyond!
–Aubrey McDonald, Lettuce’s School Program Director. To find out more about Lettuce at schools visit our schools page.