The Food School at Common Ground Urban Farm
The Food School is a start up non-profit organization in Ft. Collins, CO that offers unique agricultural experiences combined with on- and off-site food education for children and adults. Currently, our staff visits local classrooms and delivers standards-aligned food educaiton curriculum about topics such as food equity, food security, and faces of the food chain. Our long term vision includes a teaching kitchen and one-acre urban farm that operate as experiential "classrooms" where the planning, planting, harvesting, and preparation of food helps learners build essential life skills, grow community, and encourage connection to place. We believe that the story of food- from who grows it, to how its grown, and how it reaches our tables- matters. It is our hope that The Food School at Common Ground Urban Farm will act as a prototype garden- where people of all ages, living in a variety of circumstances- will find planting/growing methods they can reproduce at home. Beginning in 2014, The Food School will offer classes to the general public such as Crockpot 101 for Busy Families, Retro Snacks- New Twists on Old Favorites, and book clubs for kids that blend food and learning.
Over the last year, we've built working partnerships with The Larimer County Food Bank, The Salvation Army, Polaris Expeditionary Learning School, The FOCO Cafe, and Spring Kite Farm. The Food School has been a part of two field trips held at Spring Kite Farm (4th graders from Olander Elementary and Bennett Elementary) where we offered kids hands-on learning experiences designed to hep them understand the differences between whole, minimally-processed, and processed foods. We've designed two full-day Food School intensives for a local expeditionary learning school; held a "Chopped" competition using food boxes distributed by the Salvation Army and boosted nutritionally with vegetables, fruits, and nuts; and will pilot a 6-week program in the spring of 2014 for financially and food compromised clients of The Salvation Army with consecutive programming for their children.
Our goal is to renew and restore people's connections to food (and all the people, systems and processes that help produce and transport it), the seasons, and local landscapes. With awareness and education, people are better enabled to make informed choices about the food they choose to eat, how it affects them personally, and its influence on public health, future land development, and food policy. A local church has graciously donated the property for The Food School to use as a working urban farm. We envision 4 phases, with the first phase beginning in the upcoming year. We hope to fundraise $20,000 for the all-abilites portion of the garden, to break ground on the outdoor classroom site, and run our first summer camp for kids 5-15 years old this summer.