Middle School Nutrition and Garden Curriculum



Diggin It! is a Middle School Nutrition and Garden Curriculum created by Nutritionist & Certified Health Coach, Jill Parsh.

This 100+ page pdf is available as a free download by simply clicking the link above.

As owner of Food for Health, LLC Jill works with kids and families (one-on-one and in groups) to teach them how to eat healthier.

If any teachers or schools are interested in Jill hosting a cooking workshop with students, and/or would like to show the movie FedUp, she would love to make that happen.

You may reach Jill through her website, www.foodforhealth.net or by email at jparsh@foodforhealth.net

Job Opening – Director Position – Seeds to Plate Program


Job Opening: Director Position, Seeds to Plate Program at Mark Twain Middle School, Los Angeles, CA

About Us
The Seeds to Plate Program aims to create and maintain a school garden that is integrated into the academic environment, promote a healthy food culture, nurture physical and mental well-being, and provide hands-on gardening and eating experiences for students, families and staff to foster mutual respect, appreciation of diversity, community spirit and sustainability of the earth. This modern incarnation of the garden program at Mark Twain Middle School was started in 2009, and consists of a team of seven volunteers, predominantly UCCE Master Gardeners.

Position Description
The Director will continue the gains made in the Seeds to Plate Program, develop and disseminate a garden middle school curriculum integrating a broad range of academic and wellness disciplines and promote a garden curriculum pathway from elementary to high school through an agricultural resource center.

Responsibilities include:
Staff Management
● Recruit and oversee garden and teaching volunteer team
● Recruit and hire staff on an as-needed basis in consultation with the Advisory Board
● Lead weekly Seeds to Plate program and teacher meetings
● Manage the day to day relationships with staff, volunteers, interns and partner programs

Program Development and Management
● Direct middle school level curriculum development, both in academics and nutrition / wellness
● Work with staff to disseminate curriculum
● Collaborate with Mark Twain Middle School administration, faculty, and students
● Develop the monthly class schedule in concert with faculty and teaching volunteers
● Teach some classes in the Seeds to Plate Program
● Oversee special events (eg. cooking events, field trips, career development)
● Oversee monthly Farmer’s Market activities

Communication and Outreach
● Develop and promote relationships with community partners, LAUSD and funders
● Manage garden workdays
● Establish training workshops
● Maintain social media presence, such as website, facebook, email lists, etc.

Fundraising and Finance
● Collaborate with the Advisory Board on fundraising, including but not limited to grant writing, event planning, and donor cultivation
● Develop and manage the Seeds to Plate program budget annually and review with the Advisory Board quarterly.

● Excellent verbal, written, and social communication skills
● Strong working understanding of the public school system and experience with curriculum, and lesson plan development and implementation
● Demonstrated success in non-profit and staff management
● Experience in fundraising
● Sincere passion for work in environmental and nutrition / wellness education
● Strong collaborative expertise
● Demonstrated creative problem solving skills
● Honesty, integrity, and community spirit
● Ability to work and multi-task within a highly diverse, Title 1 public school environment
● Bilingual / Spanish preferred
● Teaching credential preferred
● M.A. / M.S. in related field, or B.A. / B.S. with relevant experience

Salary: $25,600 (49% time) paid as a UCLA employee

Submit by December 15, 2015 to:

● Letter of Interest addressing qualifications
● Resume
● 3-4 references, including phone numbers

Why Should I Grow My Lunch?

By Ben Eichorn of GrowYourLunch.com (Reprinted with permission)

School lunch continues to be a hot topic these days. At the end of September, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was up for re-authorization and voting was postponed until December 2015. For now, the 5-year-old standards for increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption and reducing salt in public school cafeterias remain in place, though on shaky footing.

The primary question at the heart of the debate around re-authorizing the Act is not about whether the food is good for our children, but rather, “Do kids actually eat the healthier food if it’s provided to them.” And the answer is yes and no – both sides of the debate can provide evidence to support their claims.

Plant Part Tacos

At Grow Your Lunch, we are heartened by the significant strides being made toward increasing the availability of healthy food in schools (see National Farm to School Network, Chef Ann Foundation and Center for Ecoliteracy, among many organizations doing great work in this area) but we remain troubled by the barriers to consumption due to our local youths’ lack of familiarity with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

In our experience working with more than 100 school communities over the last 6 years, the simplest way to get students to eat fresh produce and whole grains, is to involve them in the very process of growing, harvesting and preparing food, and composting their food scraps.

Science and Our Food Supply – Free Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms


What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have created Science and Our Food Supply, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes. An advisory board of experienced teachers just like you developed and tested the materials.

Show Me The Green

Show Me the Green book cover

Show Me The Green is a new children’s book by DS Venetta that teaches gardening in a “novel” way.  It is intended for a middle-grade audience but can be enjoyed by a much wider age group.

The story revolves around a sister-brother team, Lexi and Jason Williams, who are determined to win the First Annual Garden Contest sponsored by the local Farmer’s Market.

In the process, we learn about such gardening subjects as: the importance of planting certain vegetables at certain times of year, the importance of fertilizers, worm poop, rotating crops, trellises, beneficial insects, pollination and much, much more.

UC Davis Website Afghan Ag is a boon for Garden Educators

Saffron Field

I recently came across a very valuable teaching resource for both educators and students from a very unlikely source – Afghan Ag.

e-Afghan Ag is supported by the USDA and managed by University of California, Davis with additional information from other land grant universities such as Cornell and Purdue. The url is http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/

The site contains university researched best practices for farmers in Afghanistan including an entire section of Educational Materials. Of the educational materials, check out HorticultureField Crops and Soil.

The one lesson I initially found is called, “Student Lesson for Essential Plant Nutrients,” which is listed under Field Crops. There is also a power-point presentation to accompany the lesson.

Junior Master Gardener Classes


Two Junior Master Gardener Pop Up Opportunities:

For Ages 7-14

July 14th and July 16th 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.