Some principals and PTA members wonder why they should even have a Lettuce farm installed at their school. A Lettuce Farm opens up many doors for schools and their student body.
First off, Lettuce School Farms are set up and maintained free of cost. There are no funds required or fees charged to get a Lettuce Farm installed at your school. This is an exchange service where we ask for land, water, and an enthusiastic community in exchange for an abundant Lettuce Farm producing year round just a few hundred feet from your students.
Every school farm gives money directly back to your school through a percentage donation generated by a subscription code. It is an excellent opportunity for schools to raise money and can amount to thousands of dollars going back to the school each year. For those schools that have difficulty raising money for their PTA, this is a way to always be pulling in funds through your community subscriptions.
If your school has a garden that is volunteer based or parent-run you might notice some common trends. Sometimes it is flourishing and some years it falls flat because that active gardener has moved on from the school. Every summer your school farm dries out and dies off and needs to be cleared and weeded to start all over again next year. There are some learning opportunities in this, however, often students don’t get the full farm experience. Lettuce offers a year-round, full production farm, that will always be growing and producing. We harvest from our farms 1-2 time a week and are constantly seeding and transplanting to maintain this abundance. Even over the summer, our urban farmers will be out working the land at your school farm. Our farms are intended to last for years down the line so that the soil is always nurtured and the plants are always thriving. This is not an experience that students are often exposed to and is an excellent example of sustainable urban agriculture.
In addition to an abundant farm, we also offer a variety of educational experiences. Lettuce also offers opportunities for students and teachers to come out and get hands-on with the farm. Occasionally, we will notify our point of contact at the school when we will be coming out for planting, harvesting, weeding, etc, and the students are invited to come help out and learn. However, to get the most in-depth experience out of your Lettuce Farm we recommend working with our non-profit partners. Recently we developed partnerships with two very special non-profits in the Austin area, P.E.A.S. (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability) and Common Threads, that offer a variety of educational opportunities for your students. Having a Lettuce farm at your school dedicates a space for these non-profits to work and teach out of.
P.E.A.S. aligns their garden and outdoor education program with T.E.K.S. (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills) to ensure that teachers are meeting their marks through the semester and that students are learning about farming in conjunction with what they are learning in the classroom.
Common Threads seeks to eliminate childhood obesity and provides cooking and gardening education that aligns with this mission. Each non-profit offers lessons at no cost to the school for Title 1 schools (grants must be written for P.E.A.S.).
A Lettuce Farm at your school really is a no-brainer! If your school has a plot of land that has good sunlight and water access, your school stands to gain wonderful experiences and funding for your school. We love our school partners and really value the communities we have been fortunate enough to join. If you would like to find out more about getting a Lettuce farm at your school please fill out the school contact form near the bottom of our schools page.