Edible School Gardens
Our Edible School & Community Garden Program introduces children, their parents and educators to fresh, nutritious and seasonal food, teaching them how to grow it themselves. Each year we invite new and returning teachers to request grants for gardens, upkeep of those already planted and for expert gardening support. Our program currently reaches approximately 36,294 students in 50+ schools. When available, we arrange local farm field trips for teachers and students.
This year we will provide 3 orientation classes for educators. At the beginning of the planting season, we provide a 2 hour seminar/luncheon with planting, troubleshooting tips, supplies and gift cards to purchase or replenish budgeted items for their school gardens. Our Directors of Gardens and Education provide ongoing support during the year and conduct educational outreach to each school. After one year, each teacher gets a second round of supplies for the next season. This year we will add 2 more training sessions and a Teacher’s Happy Hour at the end of the year, encouraging shared experiences with like-minded teachers. A few schools have created farmers markets; replaced bake sales with smoothie sales implementing fresh produce and used herbs from the gardens to make soaps and infused oils. Many schools have increased the number of beds from 1 or 2 to 6 or 7 beds, greatly raising knowledge and awareness of food. Students are learning to appreciate the value of good, clean, and fair food with SFM’s help.
The Chef’s Alliance was created in 2015 to provide information and education to chefs, cooks, caterers, and artisans, offering support and connecting them to the people who produce our food locally and across Florida. We inspire collaboration and communication between chefs and farmers, forging stronger ties and ease of access to locally sourced and sustainably farmed ingredients for a true farm-to-table experience in Miami. We help coordinate deliveries from regional farms and foragers directly to restaurants, arrange farm tours and connect interested chefs with our local Edible School Garden Programs, where they can experience fresh produce, interact with children and share culinary expertise with educators. We honor the chefs in Miami who are committed to sustainability and environmental consciousness and aim to recruit more. We ask chefs to create partnerships with local providers; create seasonal menus; to draw attention to local foods on their menus; to educate their staff. We ask chefs to avoid ingredients and products that are harmful to guests or the environment. We ask chefs to support initiatives to help the environment by growing food onsite, recycling, composting, and ordering from companies that reduce packaging and waste. We work with chefs to make a positive impact on their community and environment via their sourcing choices, the activities in which they partake, and the materials they use.