Wood’s Earth (WE) Living Classroom is supporting the farm to school movement in Ithaca, NY with a diversified approach that encompasses procuring food from local producers, growing school food on its own two-acre farm, and engaging youth in food production and processing. Since January 2012, WE has been working to integrate organic community gardening and education for all ages and levels of experience. WE grew to include school food production, cultivating land, resources, and support from school food program and nonprofit leaders. Eventually WE began engaging other local producers in moving homegrown food into local schools.
WE is truly cooperative in its aim to strengthen farm to school on both a procurement and educational level. In addition to its partnerships with area farmers, WE builds community through its youth activities and fundraising efforts. Their innovative youth programming offers hands-on ways to learn about food production and even processing. In 2013, youth interns had the chance to learn about value-added products and season extension by helping to make and freeze pesto and tomato sauce for use in school meals. The community garden located on WE’s two-acre farm is a built-in funding mechanism for WE programming that also encourages and provides education for individual food production.