Hudson Valley Seed has documented programatic success since 2012. Pre and post surveys demonstrate that the HVS program changes student behavior in regard to fresh vegetables and whole foods. Every month during cafeteria taste tests, we analyze which students are trying and liking new vegetables. Our results show that students participating in weekly garden time are 47% more likely to try and like new vegetables. We have also found that these percentages grow over time. Though the district average in Beacon for students who try and like new vegetables is 82%, 96% of students at Sargent Elementary School try and like the new vegetables every month. This is heartening since Sargent has had this program one full year longer than any other school in Beacon.
When a student uses math to count and plant pumpkin seeds, documents the plant's growth through observational writing, creates pumpkin nutrition facts to bring home to their guardians, and finally harvests and cooks the pumpkin, that student will try the new vegetable, share it with their community, and eat it again and again.
We are continuing to develop holistic and innovative methods of evaluating Farm to School education.