Fresh Currciulum

Building on proven lessons of the past five years, Hudson Valley Seed has developed 68 unique lessons for K, 1st and 2nd grade. The goal of the new curriculum is to ensure each year builds upon the last through an intentional thematic arc. Each year ends with a culminating project that will help the students recall all the lessons of that year.

Beginning Gardeners

Kindergarteners entering the school garden for the first time may not have any experience with growing food, but they will learn the foundational aspects of gardening from planting seeds to watering to harvesting within the context of the four seasons. By getting their hands in the soil and seeing the garden change throughout the year, they will learn what plants need to survive and how we, as gardeners, help to meet their needs. Together, they will also create an Alphabet book that will build their vocabulary of garden elements. Throughout this first year, the students are introduced to diverse representations of farmers, in photos and books, to show that people of all ages, ethnicities and genders are growing food, which now includes each of them!

Scientific Gardeners

1st graders use their basic understanding of gardening to obverse the growing space and think critically about the relationships between plants and animals in this human-influenced habitat. Students will see that most relationships in the garden (and nature, in general) are based on "who eats who," but that there are other mutually beneficial relationships as well. As "scientific" gardeners, they will both zoom in on different elements of the garden and take a bird's eye view to learn how their management of the garden attracts and supports life while providing healthy food for human beings. They will explore how wild plants have become domesticated, practice observational drawings of different varieties of squash and draw maps of their gardens as seen from above.

Gardening Chefs

After deepening their understanding of growing food, 2nd graders will explore how we turn the food we grow into nutritious, delicious meals to feed our communities. Students will develop basic cooking skills as they learn how to chop vegetables, preserve their harvest through quick canning and create their own recipes, based on the vegetables growing in the garden. Other important topics include learning how to care for honeybees and how compost replenishes nutrients in our soil! Through these activities, they will begin to talk about the local food system and realize that they are connected to a larger effort in the Hudson Valley and beyond.

October is Farm-to- School Month!

As we enter the season of apple cider, pumpkin pie and soups made with delicious root
vegetables, Hudson Valley Seed and the Beacon City School District are excited to celebrate local food production as a part of National Farm-to- School Month!

In 2010, Congress designated October to be Farm-to- School Month in order to recognize and
support the efforts of students, educators, parents, nonprofit partners and farmers who have
worked together to bring healthy, locally-grown food to schools in their communities. According to data collected by the National Farm-to- School Network, there are nearly 43,000 schools in the U.S. that participate in some type of farm-to- school activities, which included nearly $800 million in spending on local food for school cafeterias in the 2013-14 school year!

In Beacon, school district spending on local food has already reached $11,000 in the first few
weeks of September, which includes purchasing of local broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower,
celery, cucumbers, romaine and green leaf lettuce, Spanish and red onions, green and red
peppers, potatoes, scallions, apples, watermelon and dairy products!

To continue this emphasis on farm-to- school efforts, October will be full of various hands-on,
educational activities, with the help of our community partners:

During their weekly Hudson Valley Seed garden time lessons, each 2nd grade class at all nine of our schools (in Newburgh, Beacon, and Garrison) will get a visit from a local farmer to talk about growing food in the Hudson Valley.

Some students in the Beacon Recreation Department’s after school program will set up Crop
Shops (small farm stands) outside of three of the elementary schools in October and November to sell produce from the school gardens and a few local farms to parents and community members on the following dates:

  • October 6 & 13 - South Ave. Elementary
  • October 20 & 27 - Sargent Elementary
  • November 3 & 11 - J.V. Forrestal Elementary

On Thursday, October 19, all Beacon elementary schools will participate in the Big Apple Crunch, joining millions of New Yorkers in taking a bite out of a New York State apple.

All schools have been encouraged to decorate the front of their buildings with local food
products - corn stalks, pumpkins, squash, and the like.

Over the next few weeks all of our students will be tasting and learning about bok choy, October’s featured vegetable. The Vegetable of the Month program brings a different locally-produced vegetable into school through a partnership with school cafeterias, Common Ground Farm, and Hudson Valley Seed. The students who participate in Hudson Valley Seed’s weekly garden education program taste the raw vegetable during their classes, then all students in participating schools (including all of Beacon!!) taste the vegetable in featured dishes in the school cafeteria throughout the month. This boosts kids’ access to fresh foods, increases their willingness to eat new veggies, and helps shift institutional spending towards supporting local farms.

We also encourage parents and guardians to tour a local farm, go apple picking, and visit the Beacon Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 10am-3pm at Veterans Place, next to the post office, the Newburgh Downing Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 10am-3pm, or your closest source of local food during this harvest season!

We here at Hudson Valley Seed are so grateful to have such a great collaborative relationships with Karen Pagano, Director of Food Services for the Beacon City School District, who has made many of these Farm to School month activities possible, and champions farm to school every day in Beacon’s cafeterias and beyond!

Please contact Karen Pagano at Beacon City School District (845-838- 6900 x2012) or Omari
Washington, Hudson Valley Seed (347-328- 4481), for more information.

School Crop Shop opening!

Imagine the coolest lemonade stand ever, but with vegetables!

As you may have heard, Hudson Valley Seed has partnered with the Beacon Rec’s After School Program and Common Ground Farm to open a farm stand! We are excited that our Food Fridays program will feature a kid operated farm stand with fresh produce donated by our partners. Each week, from October 6th through November 11th, staff from Hudson Valley Seed and the After School Program will be on hand to make sure the kids have a great experience and learn about produce, small business and salesmanship. The kids will be doing as much as possible to operate the stand. (Please be patient while a 2nd grader figures out your total and makes change!) The stand is open to the public, please feel free to visit all the stores at all the locations (and tell all your friends). The more customers our participants meet, the better the experience. Also, half of the proceeds go towards the tuition assistance program. Fresh delicious local produce for a good cause!

The stand will rotate through our program. The stand will be open for business from 4:45 – 6:00. The dates and locations will be:

    • 10/5 - Garrison
    • 10/6 – South – Front entrance near the handicap parking
    • 10/11 - Garrison
    • 10/13 – South – Front entrance near the handicap parking
    • 10/20 – Sargent – Lower cafeteria entrance
    • 10/27 – Sargent – Lower cafeteria entrance
    • 11/3 – JVF – In front of main entrance
    • 11/10 – JVF – In front of main entrance

If the weather is inclement, we will retreat slightly to be indoors/covered. We will be open rain or shine!

If you have wicker baskets, we would like to borrow them for display purposes. Those can be dropped off at the after school program at pick-up if you have a child enrolled in program or at the Rec Center. We will do our best to return them to you after the stand closes for the season.

We hope to see you at the stand!