In the Garden

Dexter students have many opportunities to get their hands dirty. The Farm to School Program has over 2000 square feet of gardening space at Creekside Intermediate School where students engage in daily Kitchen-Garden flex classes and an after school Garden Club.

Students involved in our program learn a variety of organic gardening skills, plant and soil biology, and composting lessons through project based learning activities. Students grow many varieties of vegetables and pollinators from seed and help tend the gardens in the spring, summer and fall.

The produce harvested from the school gardens is used in our Kitchen-Garden flex classes and in our school cafeterias. During the summer, harvests are sold at a School Farmer’s Market at the Dexter Wellness Center and produce donations are made to the Dexter Senior Center.

In the Kitchen

Dexter students work hard to turn their amazing harvests into delicious masterpieces in the Creekside Kitchen Classroom. Students learn basic kitchen skills, engage in nutrition lessons from the USDA Myplate and Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate while preparing healthy snacks and meals. We have lots of fun and our classes are always lively!

We also teach cooking and nutrition classes at Mill Creek Middle School and the High School Alternative Education Program.

In the Greenhouse

Our growing season begins in March when we move the Kitchen-Garden flex classes to the Creekside greenhouse. During this 8 week time period students plant over two thousand vegetable and pollinator seeds while learning the basics of soil biology, plant physiology and the importance of pollinators through ecology.

During our greenhouse time, students also have the opportunity to grow many different varieties of microgreens that they sample in the kitchen classroom. We also make time for students to express themselves through art lessons and writing projects.

During the third weekend in May, we host our Annual Plant Sale Fundraiser in conjunction with Dexter Green Day. Any leftover plants become the foundation for our school gardens and also for students’ home gardens.

In the Cafeteria

Since the beginning of the program, Dexter Farm to School has partnered with Dexter Food and Nutrition Program to serve monthly, fresh, local produce at DCS cafeterias in addition to three All-Michigan sourced meals a year.

Produce is not only purchased from local farms but also directly from Dexter school gardens. This component of the Farm to School Program not only increases community and helps the local economy, it also gives Dexter students a sense of pride in their school and community.

During cafeteria offerings, students can vote or give a “thumbs up” if they like the local serving. Most students even ask for seconds!

Change the food in schools and we can influence how children think. Change the curriculum and teach them how to garden and how to cook and we can show that growing food and cooking and eating together give last richness, meaning and beauty to our lives.

Alice Water, The Edible Schoolyard