Farm and Garden
DPSCD Farm-to-School works to execute the Office of School Nutrition's mission to provide high-quality food, nutrition, and wellness education while eliminating barriers to healthy food. Each Farm-to-School initiative focuses on connecting students, teachers and community members to local agriculture while empowering them to grow their own food at school or at home. The program is further enriched by the following:
- Local Procurement
- Detroit School Garden Collaborative
- Farm-to-School Internship
- Drew Farm
National Leader in Local Procurement
The Office of School Nutrition proudly supports local procurement through a partnership with local farmers and distributors.
Detroit School Garden Collaborative
The Detroit School Garden Collaborative is a farm-to-school initiative operated by the Detroit Public Schools Community District's Office of School Nutrition.
Eighty-two DPSCD schools are currently participating in this innovative program, with plans for all DPSCD schools to receive a garden. Each site features six raised garden beds, built by exceptional DPSCD carpentry students at Drew Transition Center. Fruit, vegetables, and edible flowers are grown in the six provided raised beds for use in classroom taste testings and activities or for school salad bars. A partnership with Keep Growing Detroit, provides all school gardens with ample seeds and transplants in spring, summer, and fall which ensures that the gardens are always producing.
Drew Farm is a two-acre farm at Drew Transition Center, a DPSCD school serving exceptional 18-26 year olds with cognitive and physical impairments. The farm consists of six unheated greenhouses ranging from 3,000 to 4320 square feet as well as one acre and a half acres of field production space. On average, 20,000 pounds of fresh, organically produced food are grown for the school lunch program. The crop plan is aligned to district menus and salad bars to optimize usage. Drew is the center-piece of the school garden program and was designed as a replicable model to increase in house food production district-wide.
Drew Farm also hosts field trips and community events for students and DPSCD families to learn about local agriculture, healthy eating, and sustainability.
FARM TO SCHOOL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
In the summer months, the Office of School Nutrition provides a Farm to School Internship program for 30 DPSCD high school students. Students are paid to maintain school garden sites, assist with food production at our larger sites, as well as processing harvested crops for school meals. These students learn valuable life skills and work ethic to prepare them for a lifetime in the workforce.
Food Corps is a national AmeriCorps service program that seeks to create healthy school cultures around food within schools located in historically underserved communities. The Office of School Nutrition is a host site for Food Corps in Michigan with four service members currently. Service members serve at one primary k-8 school to work towards maximizing gains in nutrition and garden education. The current Food Corps schools are: Mackenzie, Dixon, Carstens, and Spain. Food Corps service members also lead weekly field trips to Drew Farm throughout the school year.
Randolph Career and Technical Center houses a three bay, climate controlled, automated greenhouse capable of growing 30,000 transplants and seedlings. The state of the art facility also houses a horticultural classroom with walk in refrigerator, wash sink, and storage facility. The greenhouse has been renovated to include deep soil beds to grow crops year round for school lunch service.
Ludington Magnet Middle School is the site of an expanded school garden that includes a Permaculture garden. Permaculture is an agricultural technique that seeks to produce food more naturally, in harmony with nature. This demonstration garden was installed in 2014 with grant funds to illustrate permaculture to students.
CATHERINE FERGUSON ACADEMY
Catherine Ferguson Academy was the former site of a school based Organic farm and alternative school for pregnant and new mothers. Once the primary example of Farm to School in Detroit, this site featured orchards, permaculture, and animal husbandry. The Catherine Ferguson Farm is now rebuilding with the hopes that it can once again be a food production and education facility for school meals.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS ACADEMY
Frederick Douglass Academy serves as the Office of School Nutrition’s central base kitchen for satellite meal services. With grant assistance from the Life Time Foundation, Douglass hosts the district’s processing kitchen for making school grown food ready for meal service. Douglass also features an expanded school garden with an unheated greenhouse.
MACKENZIE FARM AND GARDEN
Mackenzie Farm is a site in development that currently is used to supplement Drew Farms produce at schools. An award from the EPA’s Local Foods, Local Places program created a community action plan as to how to best utilize this space, once the site of the former Mackenzie High School and Hammerberg Playfield. Long term vision for this space 20 acre includes, reactivation of athletic spaces, creation of walking trails, farm expansion, and playscape for community children.
Food Corps Michigan, DPSCD-Office of Science, MSU-Extension, Advanced Disposal, Keep Growing Detroit, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Life Time Fitness Foundation, Green Living Science, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, United Way of Southeast Michigan, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Eco-Works, Fair Food Network, Detroit Food Policy Council, Eastern Market Corporation, WSU Center for Health and Community Impact, and many more.