This year, students from four classrooms at Bowie Elementary School are participating in the free “Adopt a Cow” program through Discover Dairy. The year-long program connects students with a local farm where they can adopt a 100-pound dairy calf as their classroom mascot. Don’t worry, they don’t have to find a pen big enough to hold her! The photos, stories, and activities sheets the program sends the class about their calf’s life on the farm really make her come alive for the students. Through the program, students will learn about their calf’s family, breed, diet, daily routine, the milking process, and so much more! To practice their writing skills and show some love for their calf, students are then encouraged to write letters to their calf and host farm family.
Bowie’s host farm is Fletcher Farm in Southampton, MA. Established in 1989, Fletcher Farm is owned and operated by The Fletcher Family. They currently care for 85 milking cows on their 100-acre farm. Like most children who grew up on a farm, Farmer Nicole was responsible for many farm chores at an early age. She now works there full-time and is dedicated to raising happy and healthy animals. For the next seven months, the students at Bowie will connect with Farmer Nicole to learn about their adopted calves and the farm they live on. The four classrooms at Bowie participating in the program and their calf's names are:
Take a look at their calves!
By Rachael Marion, UMass Amherst Dietetic Intern
The changing of the leaves reminds us that winter is right around the corner and the farmer’s markets will soon be wrapping up. It’s time to take advantage of those last couple of trips and stock up on the available fall produce. Modern-day food processing and distribution have made it easy to forget about the importance of eating what’s in season. Seasonal eating allows us to eat a varied diet that supports our body and our environment. Here are a few more reasons why eating seasonally is beneficial:
Better flavor and nutritional value!
Food that’s in season is fresher, healthier, and more flavorful! Have you ever eaten a peach in the winter that tastes nothing like the fresh ripe peach you had in the summer? Seasonal produce is rich in vitamins, minerals, and flavor. As soon as they are harvested, the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables begins to decline. Produce can spend as much as a week getting to the store, then a couple of days before it makes its way to your refrigerator, and then up to another whole week before it’s finally eaten. Eating seasonally benefits your health since the food has traveled fewer miles and is at peak freshness.
Knowing what is in season will help your wallet!
Did you know eating seasonally can help you save money? When you buy food at the peak of its supply, there’s more to pick from, which means prices are usually at their lowest. Pricing in the supermarket can tell you a lot about seasonality. For example, if you’re usually paying $2 per pound of peaches and the prices increase the next month to $3 per pound, that’s a good sign that the fruit is scarcer and has to travel a greater distance to get to you.
Support the local economy!
When you purchase food that’s in season from local farms, you’re supporting both the local farmers that worked hard to grow the food and the local economy. Farmers are able to retain more of the value of their produce when it is sold locally because they don’t have to pay to have it shipped across the country. Supermarkets have very high standards for what the produce they will buy from farmers. This means farmers sell less product and a lot of misfit food items that worked equally as hard to grow end up going to waste. Your community needs your support. Take a trip to the markets, ask questions about the production process, and engage with your community!
Using produce that was grown locally and in season encourages us to be more creative in the kitchen, trying recipes we wouldn’t have otherwise tried. Use the buttons below to check out what’s in season near you and try some seasonal recipes!
There are so many different fish and seafood and so many different ways to enjoy them all so you will never get bored with adding delicious seafood creations to your diet. Be creative and try new flavors and recipes and see which ones are your favorite! Here are some recipes to help you get started!
Sea kelp provides numerous health benefits and is a great way to add some extra nutrition to your meals! Like many leafy greens, sea kelp is high in antioxidants, which help fight off disease, such as cancer. It also provides lots of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin K, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium and iodine. These vitamins and minerals are great at promoting bone, brain, and heart health! Sea kelp also has the potential to help prevent diabetes and aid in the defense against depression and Alzheimer’s disease. It may even help with weight loss!
The frozen kelp cubes and puree, powdered kelp, raw leaf kelp, ready-cut kelp, and sea-beet kraut from Atlantic Sea Farms is also allergen free and all of their products are gluten free, which makes them enjoyable for everyone! With all of these great benefits, why not try some out! Add a frozen kelp cube in your favorite smoothie or use some ready-cut kelp as a garnish on tacos! The options are endless!
Sea kelp is a great superfood and by adding local sea kelp to your diet, you are nourishing your body, supporting local fishermen, and helping rejuvenate the ocean. It’s a win-win-win!
This past week, we tried a new smoothie recipe that featured nutritious sea kelp and it was definitely kid approved!
By Caroline Grady, FoodCorps Service Member
Many of us are at home right now wondering how to take care of ourselves as we experience life transitions in our home and working environments. While we all live life a little differently at home, there are steps we can all take to make our health and wellbeing first priority. Read on for some peace of mind as we dive into easy steps everyone can take to be healthy at home!
1) Establish routine:
2) SPICE UP YOUR LIFE:
3) AIM FOR A BALANCED DIET:
4) SURPRISE YOURSELF WITH CITRUS:
5) Move your body:
6) Consider new hobbies:
7) Pick up on old hobbies:
8) Lean on your support system:
9) Explore nature's beauty:
10) Organize for peace of mind:
In early November, huge gusts of wind ripped through the Dupont hoop house, completely detaching the plastic covering and bending the metal frame to one side. The extent of the damage came as a shock, especially since we had been about to put up side walls, which would have prevented the wind from wreaking so much havoc.
Thankfully, the Horticulture program from Chicopee Comprehensive High School came to our rescue, and we worked together to make a plan to improve the hoop house for this coming growing season! The Horticulture shop has been a wonderful partner, and has helped us grow our school garden program across the district by building and repairing garden beds; distributing seeds, starts, and soil; and offering soil testing and other expertise. We're very thankful for the huge role that they've played in getting this hoop house ready to rock and roll for spring 2020!
On the Mend:
The pictures below were taken four months after the wind storm. Horticulture teacher, Jonathan Duff, and a group of his students are attaching end walls and doors to the hoop house. Students have been hard at work over the winter months building these doors, as well as new tables for seed starting. These tables will line one side of the hoop house, and the other side will be tilled so that students can plant directly in the ground.
The project be should be completed by the start of Dupont's spring garden club on March 19th! Garden club students will be starting seeds to plant in Dupont's garden beds, as well as to distribute to some of the elementary school gardens across the district.
We had a blast at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough yesterday at the Dairy Innovation Challenge! We were lucky enough to bring a team from Dupont School to experience this unique and informative event.
The day started with a photo shoot with Pat the Patriot, followed by some dairy trivia (who knew cows could smell so far?!) and a rotation of activities to help us learn more about dairy farming and nutrition. We enjoyed hearing from Kies Orr, a dairy farmer at Fort Hill Farms in CT, who showed us some of the different components of a cow's diet. At lunch time, dairy took center stage in the amazing spread. We treated ourselves to creamy mac and cheese, and whipped up some fun concoctions at the milk flavor bar. And let's not forget the chocolate chip cookies, perfect for dunking!
After lunch, it was time for the students to buckle down to the challenge -- how do we get students to drink more milk in schools?! According to the New England Dairy Council, only 17% of students are getting 2 or more servings of dairy per day. We heard some awesome presentations from schools across the state. Dupont student, Mariah, worked with a group from Worcester, coming up with the idea of a "Moo Mobile," or a wheeling cart featuring a variety of customizable dairy options. Way to go, Mariah!!
Once the presentations wrapped up, everyone got a behind-the-scenes look at Gillette stadium. The rain cleared up just in time for our tour, as we made our way through the corporate boxes, media box, clubhouse, and then down into the opposing team locker room.
On the whole, we had a moonificent day learning and creating with teams from across the state. We're honored to have been selected to participate and hopefully we can add some innovative dairy items to our menus this year!
Drum roll please.........We're thrilled to unveil the recent makeover of the Bowie School Garden!
With funds raised by the PTO and a grant from SeedMoney.org, Bowie commissioned the Chicopee Comp Horticulture program to construct brand new raised beds. There are now 10 raised beds in the garden, and they are flourishing this season with help from the Fire Department and our Farm to School Team. There's a variety of crops growing--everything from kohlrabi to strawberries--and our Salad Days beds are looking ready for a bountiful fall harvest. A big thank you to everyone who has worked to improve the garden this year! We can't wait to see how Mrs. Schofield and her students use the garden this school year.
It's August, and our gardens are in full bloom across the city! We hope you enjoy this gallery of garden snapshots from our 7 school gardens. Our gardens are located at P.E. Bowe, Bowie, Dupont, Lambert Lavoie, Litwin, Stefanik, and Streiber. If you are interested in helping out with garden maintenance, please email Greta at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.