Garden to Cafeteria
The Garden To Cafeteria (GTC) program teaches students how to grow and harvest food safely to be used in the school cafeterias on the salad bars and in some cases, in scratch-cooking recipes. Using proper Food Safety Protocols, students provide fresh produce from the school gardens to the school kitchens with proceeds supporting the sustainability of the school garden. In some cases, the food service department purchases the produce with the funds going back into the school garden program to cover costs of maintaining the gardens.
Using fun signage on the salad bars, produce is identified in the salad items as having come from the garden. The garden programs benefit from the increase exposure and from the funding provided by the purchases of the produce.
In Denver, the Garden to Cafeteria program is now in its sixth year and has resulted in over 5,000 pounds of school garden produce going into the salad bars at about 250 schools. Overall, the GTC program has raised $5,000 for the garden programs at those schools.
Food Safety Protocols
One of the most inspiring moments in school garden work is watching children enjoying sun-warmed strawberries or cherry tomatoes directly off the plants. As garden leaders, we must ensure food safety practices are in place that will minimize any risks associated with eating fresh produce from the garden. This section contains food safety guidelines from several districts across the country to address concerns of using school garden produce in classrooms and cafeterias.
Garden to Cafeteria (GTC)
- Garden to Cafeteria Program Manual (Slow Food Denver)
- Garden to Cafeteria Protocols (Denver Public Schools)
- Garden to Cafeteria School Registration Form (Denver Public Schools)
- Garden to Cafeteria Harvest Record (Denver Public Schools)
- Garden to Cafeteria Lunchroom Signage (Denver Public Schools)
- Garden to Cafeteria Training Outline (Slow Food Denver)
- Garden to Cafeteria Protocols (Jeffco Public Schools)
- Arizona School Garden Food Safety Information
- Procedure for Serving School Garden Produce (Ventura, CA School District)
- 2014 Farm to Cafeteria Conference: “Development of Garden to Cafeteria Protocols in Denver Public Schools” (Slow Food Denver)
- 2014 Farm to Cafeteria Conference: “Denver Public Schools Garden to Cafeteria Program” (Denver Urban Gardens)
- Denver Public Schools – Garden to Cafeteria Program Powerpoint Presentation
- 2012 Slow Food USA National Congress: “How to Use Garden to Cafeteria and Youth Farmers’ Market Programs to Engage Your School Gardens in the Cafeteria and Community”
- USDA School Garden Fact Sheet
- School Garden Q&As: Memo SP 32-2009
- Farm to School and School Garden Expenses: USDA Memo SP 06-2015