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Growing Healthy Waves

Tupelo Public School District currently serves a student population of over 7,000 students. Our farm to school initiative is Growing Healthy Waves, and over the last 7 years, the six FoodCorps service members we’ve had have connected with all nine of our elementary schools, including a pre-K school, five lower and three upper elementary schools and the high school, as well as a local farm and the Farmers’ Depot to get the word out that every child deserves healthy, nutrient-rich food. In 2015, Growing Healthy Waves was selected to be showcased for Farm to School Week in our state, and in 2017 the partnership between GHW and FC won the Governor’s Award of Distinction, the top award for the entire state. GHW was also selected to be 1 of 20 teams out of 125 teams applying to take part in the School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute in January 2018. We have been the impetus behind adding two salad bars to elementary schools and an onsite greenhouse at a 3rd-5th grade school where we work with teachers in integrating STEM in an outdoor learning lab. We partner with local chefs who both cook in our schools and buy our school garden produce, we offer parent academies, and we are present in our community–all of which are integral in helping our students and their families adopt healthier lifestyles and perform optimally academically.

For the last seven years, Growing Healthy Waves (GHW) has partnered with FoodCorps to get kids excited about healthy eating through hands-on learning in the classroom and school gardens, taste tests featuring locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, and by creating a stronger culture of health in schools through community relationships and partnerships. GHW Is actively involved in community initiatives that promote healthier children and healthier citizens. A couple of these have been providing garden education to families who previously lived in apartments and had never had their own home gardens but moved to rent-to-own houses and were granted one and partnering with a local nursery for alternative school students to grow vegetables to sell at the nursery for funds that roll back to the students. Service members who work with GHW will take care of a school-site greenhouse where seeding plants wind up in school gardens in the district. They will partner with university nutrition interns to introduce students to locally grown produce through taste tests, developing healthy recipes, and teaching classes that offer standards-based lessons based on FoodCorps’ curriculum. They will develop relationships with students and nutrition staff through work in school cafeterias.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Gardening skills are GREATLY desired and needed
  • Work with the nutrition staff and nutrition interns on monthly Harvest of the Month events
  • Feeling comfortable delivering lessons to elementary-age students
  • Open to collaboration with a volunteer supervisor
  • Should have garden knowledge and experience, including growing plants from seed, transplanting and harvesting
  • Have a joyful spirit and a desire to impact the hearts of children to try new things
  • Comfortable working in a cafeteria setting
  • A self-starter motivated to complete set goals and objectives
  • Able to collaborate with teachers, principals, community members, and a site supervisor
  • Ability to research solutions to problems that can crop up when overseeing a school garden
  • Coordinate schedules, develop volunteer opportunities for not only themselves but also the university dietetic interns, and serve as a preceptor for interns when they are assisting
  • An ability to speak and understand Spanish would be helpful but is not necessary
  • A car is a necessity since schools are spread out, but gas from site to site is remunerated.

Tupelo Public School District currently serves a student population of over 7,000 students. Our farm to school initiative is Growing Healthy Waves, and over the last 7 years, the six FoodCorps service members we’ve had have connected with all nine of our elementary schools, including a pre-K school, five lower and three upper elementary schools and the high school, as well as a local farm and the Farmers’ Depot to get the word out that every child deserves healthy, nutrient-rich food. In 2015, Growing Healthy Waves was selected to be showcased for Farm to School Week in our state, and in 2017 the partnership between GHW and FC won the Governor’s Award of Distinction, the top award for the entire state. GHW was also selected to be 1 of 20 teams out of 125 teams applying to take part in the School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute in January 2018. We have been the impetus behind adding two salad bars to elementary schools and an onsite greenhouse at a 3rd-5th grade school where we work with teachers in integrating STEM in an outdoor learning lab. We partner with local chefs who both cook in our schools and buy our school garden produce, we offer parent academies, and we are present in our community–all of which are integral in helping our students and their families adopt healthier lifestyles and perform optimally academically.

For the last seven years, Growing Healthy Waves (GHW) has partnered with FoodCorps to get kids excited about healthy eating through hands-on learning in the classroom and school gardens, taste tests featuring locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, and by creating a stronger culture of health in schools through community relationships and partnerships. GHW Is actively involved in community initiatives that promote healthier children and healthier citizens. A couple of these have been providing garden education to families who previously lived in apartments and had never had their own home gardens but moved to rent-to-own houses and were granted one and partnering with a local nursery for alternative school students to grow vegetables to sell at the nursery for funds that roll back to the students. Service members who work with GHW will take care of a school-site greenhouse where seeding plants wind up in school gardens in the district. They will partner with university nutrition interns to introduce students to locally grown produce through taste tests, developing healthy recipes, and teaching classes that offer standards-based lessons based on FoodCorps’ curriculum. They will develop relationships with students and nutrition staff through work in school cafeterias.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Gardening skills are GREATLY desired and needed
  • Work with the nutrition staff and nutrition interns on monthly Harvest of the Month events
  • Feeling comfortable delivering lessons to elementary-age students
  • Open to collaboration with a volunteer supervisor
  • Should have garden knowledge and experience, including growing plants from seed, transplanting and harvesting
  • Have a joyful spirit and a desire to impact the hearts of children to try new things
  • Comfortable working in a cafeteria setting
  • A self-starter motivated to complete set goals and objectives
  • Able to collaborate with teachers, principals, community members, and a site supervisor
  • Ability to research solutions to problems that can crop up when overseeing a school garden
  • Coordinate schedules, develop volunteer opportunities for not only themselves but also the university dietetic interns, and serve as a preceptor for interns when they are assisting
  • An ability to speak and understand Spanish would be helpful but is not necessary
  • A car is a necessity since schools are spread out, but gas from site to site is remunerated.