Plymouth Schools Implement Local Food Programs

A new local food program hits New Horizon Academy.
Kids at New Horizon Academy enjoy a snack of fresh fruit.

In 2013, the children of New Horizon Academy (NHA) will be growing food in their own gardens, meeting local farmers, and learning about different fruits and vegetables each week.

For now, 13 NHA centers, including one in Plymouth, are piloting the program called Farm 2 New Horizon Academy. Stemming from a partnership with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the school thought it was a perfect idea because they had recently expressed a desire to provide children healthier food options and more physical activity.

The project consists of a two-week curriculum featuring one fruit or vegetable, and then a corresponding farmer, who visits once during each food. The students also participate in learning activities dedicated to whatever item is spotlighted that week.

“I don’t think many children have this kind of exposure,” says Cara Johnson-Bader, director of parent experiences at NHA. “And the more exposure they have, the more likely they are to incorporate it into their life.”

Johnson-Bader says that families and even employees are benefiting from the program. She mentioned one chef who had never tried wild rice or hummus. But after making it for the children, she has started eating it at home. “It really is making a positive impact,” says Johnson-Bader. “We’re looking forward to having it in all the centers.”

NHA parents can expect the curriculum to begin during the next school year.