Have you ever thought about how our fruits and vegetables are grown? How farmers grow those perfectly crisp apples? Or even, how many of those apples grow on one tree? These were the questions that first grade students at Curtisville Primary Center in the Deer Lakes School District, a Live Well Allegheny School, had for local apple farmer, Jeff Norman. Thanks to the school’s Farmer Direct Series, they had a chance to get some answers.
On October 2, Mr. Norman of Norman’s Orchard, located in Tarentum, spent the morning teaching first graders the ins-and-outs of the apple-growing business. Students had the opportunity to learn about different varieties of apples that are local to Western Pennsylvania. Mr. Norman also talked to the students about planting and harvesting, differences in varieties and ways to cook apples. He answered many questions about the specifics of growing and operating an orchard. And at the end of the presentation, students enjoyed a snack of Norman’s Orchard apples and caramel dip.
The visit from Mr. Norman was part of Curtisville Primary Center’s Farmer Direct Series. Local farmers are invited to visit the school and talk to students about farming practices and local produce. Through the Farmer Direct Series students can learn from a different type of farmer every month. This provides an opportunity for students to make a connection between the fruits and vegetables they eat and the growing practices of local farmers.
The Farmer Direct Series is just one piece of a larger wellness initiative at Curtisville Primary Center. For Principal Jennifer Cavalancia, incorporating lessons about nutrition and wellness is an important piece of the curriculum. The students at Curtisville Primary Center do not just learn about nutrition and wellness in the classroom, they get down in the dirt. They have helped plant fruit trees in the school yard and have grown lettuce and herbs in tower gardens. School wellness initiatives can provide creative methods for peaking kids’ interest in fruits and vegetables. We are very excited to see schools like Curtisville Primary Center prioritizing health and wellness in education!