Where it all started

Sara Reveille has been a Volunteer in Service to America for the last couple of years. Though she did not start the Prescott Unified School District’s Farm to School (F2S) program, she is the architect of what it is today: a flourishing network of gardens, volunteers, and teachers that come together to create spaces for environmental and nutrition education across the district.   

 

How it has changed

Originally, the F2S program was focused only on developing a garden for each school in the district, but over time it has grown into a multifaceted project involving school cafeterias, compost centers, and local farms all of which connect students with important aspects of their community.

 

Where it is going from here

Despite her successes, Sara is not resting on her laurels. She is still growing the program: both by recruiting a team to maintain the gardens and by increasing opportunities for students to encounter nutrition education opportunities.

 

Unfortunately, everything has not gone totally to plan. Much like any project, Sara has encountered a fair share of challenges which she has had to work to overcome.

 

Public schools in rural Arizona are poorly funded, and their staff is often stretched thin, which can make burdening teachers with additional projects unstable in the long term. 

 

Despite those circumstances, there is a common belief in the Farm to School movement that teachers should be responsible for most of the garden maintenance to ensure its sustainability and to become invested in its success, but Sara challenged that notion.

 

She innovated. Instead of training teachers to maintain the gardens themselves which would have stretched their time even further, Sara began using volunteers to make the gardens into a tool to reduce the burden on teachers while creating opportunities for outdoor education. 

 

A piece of advice for educators looking to start their own garden programs

Sara’s program has been wildly successful, which makes her insights invaluable. For educators looking to get involved with or start their own programs, Sara wants to stress that the process is not as daunting as it seems. 

 

You do not need to be an expert on nutrition or gardens to begin. All you need is a willingness to learn alongside your students, because problem solving together is valuable, and the shared experience of learning something new will carry you farther than past expertise ever could.