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Families in the ICSD Farm to Table Program Broke Bread to Cap Off a Successful First Year

A celebratory harvest dinner at Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) brought over 100 students and their families out for a night of learning, bonding, and trying a variety of fresh foods made by program participants and local restaurants.
During the dinner, students showed off projects they’d completed based around the farm-to-table concept, including “good food guides,” posters, and mobiles. They also reflected on what they learned about where food comes from – and what they’d still like to know.
The harvest dinner served as a fitting conclusion to the first year of the FTT program, held over the summer and after school through early November. The five-year program, funded by a $212,000-per-year New York 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, was open to second and third graders at Belle Sherman, Beverly J. Martin, Cayuga Heights and Enfield elementary schools.
The interdisciplinary program intends to help students become agents of their own learning and explore where the food they enjoy comes from.
Children received a foundation of knowledge in nutrition and food, tried a variety of new meals and snacks, completed case studies on food-related subjects, and learned more about where food comes from through a series of activities and field trips to local orchards, creameries, farms and other businesses. Coordinators worked with the ICSD Child Nutrition Department to create a menu of whole foods for students to prepare, using local fresh fruits and vegetables.
Each participating school created a case study investigating how food gets from the farm to the table, said Program Director Laurie Pattington.
At Belle Sherman, students investigated the story of a food from farm to table and made informational videos. Beverly J. Martin students made posters showcasing what they learned about healthy foods. Cayuga Heights designed and built a compost bin for the school garden and published books, while Enfield students and teachers brought in experts to help them design and build garden beds for their school.
The district worked with local farmers and community organizations like the Youth Farm Project, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Food Studies Institute.

Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101