The Fundamentals of L.I.F.E.
The Lopez Island Farm Education (L.I.F.E.) Garden Program teaches children through innovative curriculum in the classroom, planting, nurturing and harvesting food in the farm and garden, and preparing healthy food to eat in the kitchen. Founded on S&S Homestead Farm in 2002, the L.I.F.E. Program has exceeded all expectations, maturing to become a fully integrated, inspiring model for schools nationwide. The program has three focus areas:
Students sow seeds for the garden using indoor lights towers before planting the seedlings outside. Using food as a unifying principle, students engage in experiential learning to gain knowledge in geography, history, literature, math, social studies, art and music. A favorite lesson involves taking the produce students have grown & harvested to prepare healthy recipes using the mobile cooking cart.
The Garden and Farm
In the Rishi Environmental Learning Garden, fruit orchard, homeroom and cafeteria beds, and hoop houses, students develop observation skills, engage in applied sciences & mathematics & grow food for the school. The garden inspires and informs studies in music, literature & art. At S&S Homestead Farm, a nearby biodynamic farm that serves as an outdoor classroom, high school students experience theory put into practice.
The Kitchen & Cafeteria
Using produce they have grown and harvested, students prepare meals for the school cafeteria in culinary arts classes. Elementary students eat food they have grown, enjoying healthy snacks such as carrots and broccoli while they wait their turn to eat. All students enjoy healthy, fresh meals every day.
Becoming a model for success
The L.I.F.E. Garden Program is showcased in Smart by Nature – Schooling for Sustainability (University of California Press, September 2009), a book by Michael Stone / The Center for Ecoliteracy. Highlighting innovative schools and programs across the country that prepare students for a sustainable future, the book provides strategies for greening campuses, rethinking school food, and transforming schools into model sustainable communities. Smart by Nature is available through bookstores; read more about Smart by Nature at www.ecoliteracy.org.