Food for Thought is a comprehensive program that consists of separate but integrated elements:
- School Food
- Nutrition Education
- Garden-based Learning
- Green and Healthy Schools
- Agricultural Literacy
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 takes every 4th grader on a field trip to a local Ojai farm where students tour the farm and learn directly from the farmer about the joys and work involved in growing food. They harvest and sample fruit and vegetables in season, look for pollinators, learn about polyculture, crop rotation and best agricultural practices. They also learn the history and heritage of local agriculture.
- This coming year Food For Thought is working to develop a 5th grade garden based curriculum focused on water sustainability and drought issues in California
- 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.