A Garden, a Park, a School, and a Healthy Partnership

6You’re looking for a healthier you in 2018. A better diet is part of your resolution, and maybe some Fairfax County youth can show you the way.

This tale’s roots are in October 18, 2017, which was a great day for some Fairfax County kids. It was a pretty good day for Fairfax County agriculture, too.

October was National Farm to School Month, and that meant opportunity! Floris Elementary School, Frying Pan Farm Park, and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) teamed up to bring local food to local kids.

Here’s how it worked. October 18 was a crisp Wednesday morning, and the weather allowed for easy harvesting conditions at Frying Pan. A five-gallon bucket full of beautiful lettuce, a half-bucket of shiny green peppers, an armload of bright yellow summer squash, and more carrots than one person could carry were gathered. That was enough food for a bundle of students in grades one to six at Floris Elementary to sample all they wanted.1

Christie St. Pierre of the FCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services helped Frying Pan Historic Farm Educator April Schmidt wash and chop the fresh produce in the school’s kitchen. Floris Guidance Counselor and Green Team Leader Sarah Dekramer prepared a cafeteria table with signs and serving supplies. Ms. Dekramer created the Floris Elementary Green Team as a student club that, among other green tasks, tends to and harvests from a garden at Frying Pan, which is not far from the Herndon school.

4During each grade’s lunchtime, Green Team members stationed themselves at the serving table and gave a sample of fresh veggies to any students who lined up for a taste. Kids kept coming back over and over for more veggies, and the Green Team members clearly enjoyed passing out tasty food they helped grow.

So, youth showed the way. When folks say “kids will not eat veggies” just show them these photos. Then take the next step. Now it’s your turn to get healthier.

Author April Schmidt is the Historic Farm Educator and Kidwell Garden Coordinator at Frying Pan Farm Park.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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