Food for Thought is a comprehensive program that consists of separate but integrated elements:
We strive to strengthen the connections among these elements so that the lessons learned in one are reinforced and tested in the others and reinforce the relationship between a healthy body, a healthy agricultural community, and a healthy environment.
Each elementary grade level, from Kindergarten to 6th Grade, focuses on a different Food For Thought program element so that upon graduation from elementary school, a child has experienced all elements of the program.
- Kindergarten and 1st graders learn a garden-based project focusing on a multi-sensory approach to learning plant parts using carrots, peas, broccoli, pumpkins and sunflowers. They create a Sunflower House and a Pumpkin Circle and read associated books like Tops and Bottoms. Is this true?
- 2nd graders learn about wheat. They plant, harvest, winnow, grind and bake with wheat grown in school garden beds.
- Food For Thought provides nutrition education lessons to 3rd graders that focus on increasing awareness of the different food groups and nutrients and the contributions that they make to overall good health. They also enjoy and learn how to make healthy snacks for themselves.
- Food for Thought has developed soil science lessons aligned with California Environmental Education Initiative standards for 4th grader classes. Students learn how soil is created, the importance of healthy soil and explore the role of decomposers in the school gardens.
- All 5th grade students head to a local Ojai farm to learn directly from the farmer about the joys and work involved in growing food. Students learn about irrigation, crop diversity, soil health and humane animal stewardship.
- Food For Thought provides nutrition education lessons for 6th graders that focus on making healthy choices. Students participate in hands-on lessons as they learn appropriate serving sizes and how to read product content labels. Many 6th graders also conduct waste audits, sorting lunch waste, compiling data, and presenting their findings and solutions for minimizing waste in school-wide assemblies.
- Food for Thought consults with Matilija Junior High Garden Club throughout the school year. We support recycling efforts at both Junior and Senior high school campuses. Food for Thought funds the Nordhoff High School Environmental Field Studies Classes in their work in their own school garden and classes at a Poco Farm.