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Farm at Sunnyvale school will focus on education

Farm at Sunnyvale school will focus on education
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Plans are in the works to turn the former Full Circle Farm at Peterson Middle School into even more of an educational staple for students in Sunnyvale.

The Santa Clara Unified School District held a community meeting on Sept. 21 to update residents on the farm’s status as well as gather input as to what programs should be implemented there.

The school district took over farm operations last month after the lease with Full Circle Farm ended. According to the district, Full Circle Farm wasn’t financially stable and wasn’t meeting program needs for students as stated in the lease.

The district says it wants to forge a three-year interim plan that would revamp the farm and have it provide organic produce for the school’s nutrition services department and get the land ready to harvest future crops. The first round of crops would include carrots, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, chard and kale.

According to district staff, work on a farm master plan will begin in January and take about eight months to complete.

The district also has eyes on making the farm more financially stable. Possible revenue-generating ideas include continuing to host summer camps with Stanford University, as well as festivals and seasonal activities; serving “farm-to-table” dinners; and opening the farm on certain days for residents to pick produce for a fee.

The district said the farm is again being used for student enrichment. Students from the Peterson culinary class were recently invited to come and pick produce. The students created recipes based on the harvest.

Residents attending the meeting voiced a preference for the farm to be a resource for the school, the district and other surrounding schools.

“I just hope they maintain it and expand on it and really take advantage of what they have,” said resident Denise DeLange. “I’m excited they’re trying to supply the cafeterias with food and get the kids involved in all the phases of planning and especially get them out of the classroom and into the garden.”

Colleen Yamada, the parent of a Peterson student, wants education to be a main priority.

“I want them to keep the mission of educating the kids at the forefront of whatever they come up with. That has to be the biggest goal of the school district,” she said “I don’t want to ignore the community, but that’s my main concern.”

The farm is located at 1055 Dunford Way in Sunnyvale.

Comments, questions, suggestions, inquires about volunteering and business partnerships can be emailed to communications@scusd.net.

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