The Harvest of the Season Program was modeled after the Harvest of the Month program at Lee Elementary in Columbia, MO.

Harvest of the Month
Each month, the 3rd grade at Lee rotates through 3 stations--farmer presentation, art experience, cooking/tasting experience--related to that month's highlighted crop. A local farmer visits Lee each month, and teaches students about how farming is connected to geography, social studies, math, you name it. For example, one Harvest of the Month at Lee, an egg farmer brought in her chickens and allowed students to get up close and personal with them to learn about chicken anatomy and physiology. Specimens of bird feet allowed the lesson to branch into the origins of the modern domesticated chicken species. When students rotated to the cooking station, they learned how a chicken's diet affects the strength and thickness of an egg shell, then they helped prepare an omelet made from local eggs, cheese, and mushrooms. Finally, these students rotated to the art room where they learned about egg tempura and its use to create the murals inside the Missouri state capitol building. They finished their Harvest of the Month experience by mixing egg tempura paint from scratch and using it in their own artwork.

The Harvest of the Month program at Lee is organized by Slow Food Katy Trail. The Learning Garden was able to connect with Slow Food because both organizations are members of the Grow Healthy Boone CountyGrow Healthy Boone County Partnership partnership. Our partnership resulted in two 2nd grade teachers visiting Lee for two Harvest of the Month programs, and the development of the Harvest of the Season pilot project in Ashland. Our school is not the only one using Harvest of the Month as a model--Benton-Stephens Elementary in Columbia, MO, has also started a project based on the program at Lee!

Harvest of the Season
The steering committee decided to start slow, and first attempt 3 seasonal programs integrating a presentation by a local farmer (or a field trip to a local farm) with the 4 "specials" classes each 2nd grade class attends each week. The "specials" are: music, p.e., art, and guidance. The specials teachers and the 2nd grade team collaborated with Jenny Grabner, Learning Garden VP, to develop the Harvest of the Season Program. In October, 2nd graders visited Jo Hackmann's pumpkin farm in Hartsburg, MO, an old Missouri River town known for its good soil and great pumpkins. Specials classes all incorporated a pumpkin theme that week. In early March, the farmer presentation model was employed. Jenny Grabner, who also runs the Wintergreen Farm CSA, led students out to the school garden to plant the seeds that she grows just down the road on her cool-season vegetable farm. Students then prepared a green salad, which supplemented their school lunch. During the week of Jenny's visit, specials classes coordinated with the salad theme. The third and final program of the year will occur during late spring: Walk About Acres, their bees, and all the things they know how to make with honey will be featured!

At the end of the year, the steering committee will consult with those involved in Harvest of the Season to determine if it will continue, and if so, whether to remain as a seasonal program or work so that it becomes a monthly event.