Introducing Farm to Toast

 In Environmental Education, Explore Ecology, School Gardens, Science Exploration, Uncategorized

Reading, writing, arithmetic, and wheat! Children in three Santa Barbara schools will soon grow, harvest, and mill their own wheat, thanks to an innovative new program called Farm to Toast. A partnership between Explore Ecology and the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Food Services, Farm to Toast is funded by a grant from the CA Department of Education.

Farm to Toast has three main components; education, professional development, and increased California-grown produce in school meals. The grant pays for Explore Ecology Garden Education split between three school gardens and provides funds for SBUSD Food Service and Explore Ecology Garden Educators to tour a California wheat production facility. A Chef Educator will also train both SBUSD and Explore Ecology staff in baking fresh bread.

Students at La Cumbre Junior High, Santa Barbara Community Academy, and Monroe School will participate in an in-depth yearlong study of wheat production in California. The students will plant demonstration wheat gardens, process wheat into flour using new hand mills, and bake bread in two new portable wood burning ovens. School cafeterias will serve fresh bread made with student- grown flour. SBUSD Food Service will source and purchase California-grown wheat to supplement the local schools’ wheat crop. Students at other SBUSD elementary schools will receive lessons on bread making and enjoy fresh bread.

Nancy Weiss, Director of Food Service at the Santa Barbara Unified School District says, “Farm to Toast is the culmination of two vital principals of life, growing food organically and turning that food into sustenance which will nourish bodies and minds for health and longevity! Teaching kids to grow wheat, mill it into flour, learn to knead dough, and make bread is the full spectrum experience. We are proud to be sponsoring such a program and watching as our students- Eat to Live, Live to Learn, and Learn to Eat.”

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