Students at Bowe and Stefanik Elementary Schools now have the unique opportunity of growing fresh greens and herbs year-round right inside their cafeterias thanks to EvanLee Organics and 24:45 Organics patented growing technology. The grow racks use a terraponic system with nutrient-rich soil supplied from the company, which is composted in a large bin between plantings. An automated light system supplies plants with the ideal amount of light each day, helping the system remain highly productive year-round. Each rack can produce 15 - 30 lbs of produce per month, and most greens and herbs provide multiple harvests. The system is sustainable, easy to operate, and will allow students to garden year-round. The racks will also supply hyper local produce for school salad bars for both students and staff. So far, we have grown kale, sage, basil, spinach, chives, and several varieties of lettuce. Moving forward, we will work closely with cafeteria staff to customize the crops for school meals. Our two FoodCorps service members, Anna and Kelly, will oversee the grow racks and use them in hands-on lessons with students. We are very excited to use these new systems to supplement our existing farm to school programs. Be sure to follow us @chicopeefresh for the latest updates about this project!
The Chicopee Downtown Get Down is an annual block party showcasing local businesses and organizations and featuring live entertainment and delicious eats. This was our third year taking part in the festivities, and it's an event we look forward to all year long!
In order to promote our Farm to School programs, we served local yogurt parfaits featuring local fruit, local yogurt, and even local granola! A big thanks to Local Maple Granola in Holyoke, MA for donating a delicious lemon granola that was a smash hit with parfait customers. We also gave students the opportunity to take a spin on our Blender Bike and mix up their own healthy fruit smoothies. Even May Kos gave it a go!
Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the Get Down and support Chicopee businesses and organizations. We hope to see you next year! Comment below with ideas for what we should serve at the Get Down next year :)
New Garden at Lambert-Lavoie!
Introducing Chicopee's newest school garden! We're thrilled to have a new raised bed garden right outside Lambert-Lavoie Elementary School. So far, we've got a variety of crops planted for students to harvest this fall, such as radishes, beets, carrots, and lettuce. We've also planted herbs for a fun sensory experience. Come spring, students will participate in Salad Days programming. They will also have the opportunity to take part in a garden club led by FoodCorps Service Member, Kelly Zimmerhanzel. If you are a Lambert parent or a resident of the neighborhood and are interested in getting involved, please reach out to either Kelly or Greta. 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.