This project is an exploration of a K-3 Early Childhood Center and the Roosevelt School District’s progress towards the Farm to School movement and focuses on the transformations and strategic partnerships required to maintain gardens as an educational resource over the long term. Martin Luther King Jr. Early Childhood Center is a Title 1 elementary school in South Mountain Village, Phoenix and is the primary research location for this study. South Mountain Village contains a series of urban food deserts which are low-income regions without adequate access to fresh, affordable, and healthy food options. The baseline for the school garden’s integration status was measured through the usage and adaptation of the Garden Resources Education and Environmental Nexus (GREEN) tool for well-integrated school gardens. The school has existing partnerships with the University of Arizona Co-operative Extension, and Farm at South Mountain to help establish their school garden and organize a series of educational field trips centered around sustainable agricultural practices. As a part of this Culminating Experience, I also worked with the Sustainability Teachers Academy to create, plan and execute Sustainability and School Gardening workshop on March 11-12 for teachers, and members of the Farm to School Network across Arizona. The end goal of this project and workshop is to create a framework to cultivate and sustain critical partnerships for farms and schools interested in being a part of the Farm-to-School program in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
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