Good School Food

The significance of what we eat simply cannot be overstated. Young people don’t just need to hear how the food they eat affects their bodies and minds; they need to see it. They need to taste it. Feel it. Experience it. That’s what Good School Food is all about–providing school communities with innovative, hands-on food education programs that improve the health and educational achievement of future generations.

Jones Valley launched Good School Food in 2012 with Glen Iris Elementary, a K-5 Birmingham City School with over 800 students. During the 2013-14 school year, Good School Food is expanding to a second school, Oliver Elementary, also a K-5 Birmingham City School with over 500 students. Over the next two years, Jones Valley has a plan to roll out Good School Food into 5 more schools in Birmingham’s Woodlawn community.

Good School Food is a comprehensive educational approach to working with school communities. Programs include:

Farm Lab
An outdoor learning laboratory that produces a diverse amount of fruits and vegetables on a school campus, supported with teacher toolkits and a K-8 standards-based curriculum for daily instruction.

Student Farmers Market
Small student teams participate in a digital financial literacy program and social entrepreneurship curriculum as they learn to manage a farmers market business after school to sell fresh produce to their community.

Project-Based Learning
Students learn about core subjects–including math, science and English–through the lens of a particular problem, question, or socially relevant issue.  Jones Valley has developed three unique, cross-curricular tracts for our project-based learning programs that are offered to our Good School Food partners.

The Family Kitchen
A hands-on cooking and nutrition series that empowers families to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.

Investigative Learning Kits
A series of cross-curricular, hands-on learning kits that foster critical-thinking, problem solving, and creativity as students develop new understandings of the local and industrial food systems.

 

WHY GOOD SCHOOL FOOD IS A PROGRAM THAT WORKS

Community Schools 

A growing body of research suggests that the Community Schools approach works, helping students make significant gains in student achievement and development in essential nonacademic areas, as well as increasing family participation and engagement with the school.  The Community School model views public schools as a hub that brings together community partners to offer a range of services and learning opportunities to students and families. Good School Food is designed to build on the proven methods of the Community Schools model.

Responsive, Hands-on Education

Good School Food instruction is based on the idea that students learn best through active, hands-on participation in the learning process and when they are presented with opportunities to practice inquiry and critical thinking about both core subject matter and real-world issues.  Studies have shown that when implemented well, hands-on and project-based learning build deeper content understanding, raise academic achievement and encourage student motivation to learn when compared to more traditional teaching methodologies.

Invest in Teachers

Research demonstrates that strong teachers are the most important school-level influence boosting student achievement.  Research also shows that teachers are unhappier in their jobs than they have been in decades and more than three in five teachers say their training left them unprepared for the classroom.  Good School Food is designed to inspire and support teachers through training, materials, and educational resources that helps them deliver content that is relevant to 21st century learners.

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