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Grant Narrative Excerpt

Grant Narrative Excerpt

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Published by AlishaBethAdams

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Published by: AlishaBethAdams on Oct 27, 2012
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Chipping Hill Micro Farms – USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Background Information1. Organizational Information2. Describe Your Experience in Farm to School Initiatives3. Farm to School Lessons Learned to DateThe Project4. Proposed Project5. Key Project Partners6. Objectives, Activities and Timelines7. Evaluation Plan8. SustainabilityQuality Assurance and Staffing9. Project Management and Quality Insurance10. Staffing11. Financial Management System
Chipping Hill Micro Farms – USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Background Information
1. Organizational Information
Chipping Hills Micro Farms’ (CHMF) mission is to combat childhood obesity in urban settings by supporting and encouraging children to eat healthy while learning how sustainable agriculturerelates to their communities and environment. Since 2011 CHMF has been installing MicroFarms and growing vegetables in partnership with schools, daycares, and community centers.We became a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and expanded our efforts to teach childrenthroughout Philadelphia the connections between food, agricultural systems, and the naturalworld. Our programs teach children about growing food through direct interaction with the soil,herbs, flowers and vegetables. We pull and eat fresh greens directly from Micro Farms thechildren themselves have helped plant.Micro Farms are innovative cedar boxes equipped with light bulbs, ceramic heaters, propagation panels and/or light-capturing polycarbonate panels thermostatically controlled to maintaintemperatures of at least 70 degrees for year-round growing. They are proven, miniatureagricultural systems, and support a curriculum that includes basic principals of agriculture and botany, seed germination, soil formulation, garden companions, weeds, and garden planning.Students take responsibility for maintaining their own boxes, from planting and watering toharvesting and eating.A profusion of research in the last two decades indicates that direct, frequent experience with thenatural world produces positive physical, mental and emotional benefits in children and adults.Improved cognitive functioning includes enhanced ability to focus, observation skills, recall of information, creativity and the ability to reason. Reduced stress and self-esteem are also amongthe positive results when children are allowed unstructured time to explore the outdoors. Manyspecialists in child development now believe that regular contact with the natural world isessential to the emotional development of children. Compelled by this research, we encouragechildren to be curious, get dirty, start a nature journal, and use their “listen,” “smell,” and“watch” senses.We aim to connect children with the natural world through gardening. The experience of  planting a seed, watching it grow, nurturing the plant by watering, weeding, and guarding against pests, then watching it mature and bear fruit, instills in children a lesson they will not soonforget. They often become more adventurous in eating fresh produce when it comes from their own garden. This willingness to try unfamiliar vegetables leads to healthier eating habits that,once formed, can last a lifetime.
Chipping Hill Micro Farms – USDA Farm to School Grant Program
2. Describe your experience in farm to school initiatives
CHMF currently produces food and offers garden and nutrition curriculum at seven Philadelphialocations. Weekly tastings of salads and vegetables grown in our Micro Farms occur at each of the sites to complement age appropriate lessons, which include gardening, agriculture, botany,and environmental studies.At
ACPPA Community Art Center
, children age 11-14 assisted in the building of a 4 by 8 footMicro Farm, growing 12 types of vegetables.
Jubilee School
and 6
graders startedvegetables indoors then transplanted them to a portable Micro Farm on site. At an afterschool program at
Tree House Books
, CHMF runs a Micro Farming program to supplement afterschoolsnacks for children age 6-12, and assists in the design and implementation of a summer camp.We also impact students during their formative preschool and kindergarten years. We bring farmto school programming to 2-5 year-olds at
LibertyMe Dance Center
with a 4 x 13 foot MicroFarm as well as a 4 x 6 foot garden bed. The Micro Farm is heated with a 400 watt propagation panel embedded in the soil, allowing for year-round teaching opportunities.
Awbury Arboretum
is home to both portable and permanent Micro Farms, supported by theresources of a small greenhouse attached to a dedicated classroom and kitchen space. We operateone-hour classes for daycare groups up to four days a week. Groups of 10-30 children returnweekly to watch the growth of the garden, eat fresh picked veggies, and play in the arboretum’sgreen space.
North Light Community Center
hosts multiple classes for ages 3-11, and an 8-week summer camp for 35 children. Using two portable Micro Farms, we began by teaching soil formulationand seed germination, and now tend and eat vegetables.
Wyck Historic House and Garden
hasintegrated our Micro Farms into their extensive summer programming that impacts 500 children primarily from surrounding neighborhoods. A permanent Micro Farm has enabled us to continueour programming year-round.
3. Farm to School Lessons Learned to Date
Our most important lesson to date has been that children must take ownership of theireating habits. You can’t empower a child to make healthy choices by simply putting carrotson their plate; they must build a relationship with their food from the roots up. We haveseen again and again that when a child helps germinate and tend a seed, water and protect it from weeds, and watch it grow, they’ll make the choice to taste it on their own.That first bite is exciting. Children report they love the taste‐‐now associated with a multi‐sensory, tactile experience—and go home asking their parents for more. Involving childrenin all stages of the process, from planting to harvest,
even on a very small scale
, imparts anunderstanding of self‐sufficiency and sustainability, and makes healthy eating both naturaland desirable.

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