Seed-to-Table Curriculum at Birchwood Elementary Inspires Appreciation and Awareness

Educators in Action

Fifth graders at Birchwood Elementary School have been tracing the path of local apples from seed-to-table.

With a series of classroom projects and during a fall field trip to Bellewood Acres, students saw firsthand how a local family produces apples that will be shared with the community, sold in supermarkets and maybe even show up in their school lunch. Throughout their visit to the orchard, the students learned about growing, harvesting, transporting, selling and eating apples.

The students also learned there are numerous challenges in producing apples, from selecting the best apple to grow in our region to how to provide water for the entire orchard. and how to naturally treat apples for sunburns and insects. The students watched the process involved in the sorting of apples and found out that if any apples are not suited for the supermarket, they end up as food for the local cow farm next door. The fifth graders also taste-tested different varieties of apples on their farm field trip.

Fifth grade teacher Carolyn Hinshaw explained the numerous lessons embedded in the field trip. “Students learned about how many decision the orchard owners make to produce apples and to sell them,” she says.  On the science side of the curriculum, Hinshaw says that the students learned how the ‘whole environment is used to produce apples.”

“From the sun’s energy used to grow them, to the water which provides irrigation, and the planting of other plants that help attract bees” the science lessons are many, she continued.

When asked the significance of these kinds of food-related field trips, director of wellness Jessica Sankey says one can’t underestimate their importance.

“Learning who grows our food, how food grows, and seeing where it grows connects each of us to our community, the environment, and helps us make healthy choices for our own bodies,” Sankey says.

“Birchwood students are so lucky to have teachers who help them make informed, thoughtful decisions about the food they eat, and expose them to the care and science of farming. This field trip is so great for helping students grow deep gratitude and appreciation for all parts of our local food shed.”

Annually apples are highlighted as the January Harvest of the Month and all district students who eat school lunch get to experience them cooked or baked into that day’s menu.

For more on Harvest of the Month, visit the Whatcom Farm-to-School webpage.


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