Foodbanking and Farming with Dayton’s Youth

Final report for YENC16-107

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2016: $2,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/15/2018
Grant Recipient: The Foodbank, Inc.
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Manager:
Lee Lauren Truesdale
The Foodbank, Inc.
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Project Information



WORK ACTIVITIES 2016 and 2017

Foodbanking and Farming with Dayton’s Youth classes began in July and concluded for 2016 in November. During this time, 10 classes were held with a total attendance of 115 students ranging in age from 5-15.

Youth classes for 2017 were held during the months of March-November. During this time, a total of 235 students ranging in age from 3-16 participated in 12 classes.

Foodbank Dayton SARE Classes 2016 and 2017

sample lesson THE FOODBANK DAYTON Planting Correctly

2016 photos, The Foodbank Dayton, NCR-SARE Youth Education

Youth Classes for 2016:

Cooking with Fresh Herbs
Students spent half a day at The Foodbank working with the Garden Manager. Students transplanted tomato plants, fertilizing, staking, and watering the plants. Students also set up the youth garden beds, filling them with soil and compost and planting lettuces, green onions, and herbs in the beds. Students harvested parsley which was then cleaned and dried and participated in making a Tabbouleh salad using locally grown vegetables.
Student Life Group: Four students aged 14-15.

Students learned about the importance of pollination and honeybee health, tasted different types of honey and learned about different herbs (lavender, lemon basil, thyme, and chamomile) and created an herb sachet to take home. Students colored pictures of honeybees and recorded notes about the honey they tasted in notebooks.
Wesley Community Center: 23 students aged K-2nd grade.

Healthy Eating
Students looked at nutrition guidelines and discussed healthy eating and snacking. Topics included the importance of consuming fresh produce, both raw and cooked. Good and bad oils and fats were discussed. Students assisted in preparing fresh produce from the garden and cooking raw veggie pizzas.
Wesley Community Center: 17 students aged 3-6th grade.

Healthy Eating
New students participated in the same lesson as above, but prepared salsa and a green smoothie using fresh produce from the garden.
Wesley Community Center: 12 students aged 7-8th grade.

Pollinator Gardening
Students worked in The Foodbank’s pollinator garden and learned how to transplant mature plants into a new space. Soil preparation (mixing peat moss, mushroom compost, and produce compost into unfertilized soil) was also  included as a lesson.
Islamic Youth Sisterhood: 8 students, all high school aged.

Global Foods: Brazil
(per Wesley Center’s request The Foodbank conducted a series of lessons focused on global food and agriculture) Students learned about the climate and geology of Brazil, learning what foods are commonly grown in Brazil, and snacking on plantain chips, avocado, and pineapple.
Wesley Community Center: 10 students aged 5-12.

Global Foods: India
Students learned about Indian culture and sampled Indian dishes including rice and curry sauce, chickpeas, and spinach which was harvested from The Foodbank garden.
Wesley Community Center: 5 students aged 5-12.

Global Foods: United States
Students participated in a discussion surrounding hunger and food insecurity in the US and locally. Students participated in a Hunger Access Activity, snacked on apples and caramel and participate in a mock election where they proposed ideas for solving hunger. Wesley Community Center: 5 students aged 5-12.

Healthy Eating
Students learned the basics of MyPlate and identified foods of MyPlate. Students learned what a sometimes food was and participate in a coloring activity “eating a rainbow”.
Primrose School: 13 students, all kindergarten.

Healthy Eating
Students of a different class participated in the same lesson above.
Primrose School: 11 students, all kindergarten.

Our staff had a great time working with students and coming up with unique lesson plans that both met the grant requirements and met the needs of the school or community center. The Foodbank surveyed students of Wesley Community Center through a pre-and-post test survey, as the same students participated in all three Global Foods lessons. The results of the survey are included as Attachment I. Attachment I, Pre- and Post-Survey-Evaluation-Answers. Wesley

Overall, The Foodbank found each SARE class to be incredibly successful and well received by the community. Positive feedback was received from both students and staff of participating schools and community centers.

Youth classes for 2017:

Food Identification and Healthy Eating

Students learned the basics of MyPlate and identified foods of MyPlate. Students learned what a sometimes food was and participate in a coloring activity “eating a rainbow”.

Primrose Schools on 3/20: 61  students 4-6 years of age; 3/27: 32 students 4-6 years of age; 11/9: 28 students age 4-6; 11/16: 14 students 5-6 years of age.

Introduction to Garden Basics, Planting a Summer Garden, and Caring for a Summer Garden

Students were introduced to basic gardening tools and learned about the gardening process, including what is needed for a seed to germinate, grow, and produce food. Students planted, cared for, and harvested from their own garden lot.

Wesley Community Center on 6/12: 11 students 12-16 years of age; 6/14: 11 students 12-16 years of age; 6/19: 9 students 12-16 years of age; 6/26: 12 students 12-16 years of age; 6/28: 11 students 12-16 years of age.

Raised-Bed Gardening

Students worked in The Foodbank's raised bed gardens and became familiar with tools and harvesting. Students were also educated on local food insecurity figures and the problem of hunger in the Miami Valley.

Student youth group on 7/17: 10 students 12-16 years of age; 7/19: 12 students 12-16 years of age.

Food and Seed Identification/Beneficial Insects and Pollinators

Young students were taught basic fruit and vegetable identification along with a hands-on lesson about pollinators and the benefits they provide. Students viewed pollinators in action in The Foodbank's raised-bed gardens.

Student field-trip group on 9/7: 24 students aged 3-5.


Project outreach was largely grassroots and focused on targeting local low-income underserved students living in our community. Outreach activities included email blasts to The Foodbank’s 104 nonprofit member agencies, targeted calls to local agencies who serve low-income students, social media posts, and discussions at local meetings. There were no field days or demonstrations conducted.

Wesley Community Center, a Foodbank member agency, was easily reached and engaged as they have little to no funding to provide educational opportunities to their students. All students who attend Wesley Community Center qualify as low-income students and live in urban areas where there is little to no access to community gardens, let alone fresh produce.

Primrose School has been a long-standing partner and supporter of The Foodbank. Although students who attend Primrose do not qualify as low-income, students are very willing and eager to learn.

Student Life and the Islamic Youth Sisterhood group are both new partner groups to The Foodbank. Both groups were made up of older high school students who come from middle-class backgrounds. The students were able to both fulfill volunteer hour requirements and learn something new through their participation in The Foodbank’s SARE programming.

Additionally, The Foodbank hosted three Youth Works students, who worked in the garden throughout the months of July and August. These students, all of which come from low-income households, were employed by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and assisted in day-to-day garden operations including sowing and harvesting produce, maintaining garden beds, and assisting with garden volunteers. Each of the three students concluded their time with The Foodbank in August, leaving with knowledge of common garden practices, land stewardship, and knowledge of how to grow their own produce at home.

In November 2016, The Foodbank experienced some staff changes. The organization’s Garden Manager moved on to a new position and our intern who was assisting in creating lesson plans and teaching classes concluded her internship hours in December. As such, The Foodbank is hiring a new Garden Manager effective February 1st. The new Manager, with assistance from Lee Lauren Truesdale, Development & Grants Manager and program manager for this grant, will be responsible for all teaching. Fortunately, The Foodbank’s intern who was working on this project provided additional lesson plans upon her departure that will be used throughout the next year. Below is a thorough work plan for this year.

January-March, 2017: New Garden Manager will begin and get acquainted with role and SARE grant. Update: James Hoffer, The Foodbank's new Garden Manager was hired effective 2/1/2017 and carried the program forward.
April-May, 2017: previous participating schools and community centers will be contacted to assess interest in 2017 participation. Lesson plans will be reviewed and tweaked as necessary. Potential new partners will be contacted including: Kettering Alternative Schools, Mound Street Academy, and 2017 Youth Works. Update: In 2017, The Foodbank conducted classes with the following partner agencies: Primrose Schools, Wesley Community Center, and in The Foodbank garden.

June-November, 2017: classes will be conducted and students will be surveyed. We have set a target goal of 15 classes throughout the six months. Update: 12 classes were held in 2017.

December, 2017- April, 2018: youth garden beds will be maintained throughout the winter with a cover crop. All lessons and surveys will be complied into a binder for reporting purposes. Grant will conclude and final report will be submitted. Update: Youth garden beds have closed for the season and will reopen early 2018. The beds were not planted with a cover crop, as the storage instructions included with the Big Bag Beds were to empty each bed and store it inside. The soil will be replaced in the spring 2018, the removed soil was placed outside of the garden and is being used to build up a lot for a separately-funded pollinator garden.


Project Objectives:

Project objectives that were originally proposed remained the same throughout the project.

Objectives include:

  • Provide engaging youth education classes focusing on land stewardship, sustainable garden practices, and the impact that gardening can make on solving hunger in the Miami Valley
  • Teaching children how to sow, maintain, and harvest Ohio fresh produce crops
  • Teaching children the benefits of composting
  • Providing children with the proper name of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Lessons on pollinators


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • James Hoffer (Educator)

Educational & Outreach Activities

10 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
1 Tours
10 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

374 Youth
10 Educators
Education/outreach description:

The Foodbank created 10 lesson plans as a part of this project. There is no future outreach in progress. In 2018, The Foodbank will continue to conduct youth educational classes by demand only.

Learning Outcomes

90 Youth reporting change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness

Project Outcomes

3 New working collaborations
Increased organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:
Explanation for change in organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:

The Foodbank had not previously conducted youth education classes on a "formal" basis until receiving a SARE grant. After completion of this grant and project, The Foodbank is equipped with the tools and knowledge to teach sustainable agriculture. In July 2018, The Foodbank will complete a new strategic plan and included in this plan will be the organization's future SARE and gardening efforts.

Sustainable Agriculture practices parents adopted:

Not applicable to this project.

Success stories:

Student planting at the Wesley Center lot garden
Students at Wesley Center learning the basics of garden tool use and "tilling" the ground by hand
Older students working in The Foodbank's raised garden beds which produce food for the hungry (pre-season production)
Garden Manager, James Hoffer teaching pre-K children about MyPlate


The Foodbank truly benefited from SARE funding and enjoyed working with our community to both educate youth about food insecurity and gardening, but also how to sustain their own lives by growing healthy food. The Foodbank utilized Big Bag Beds in this project as a way to demonstrate urban gardening. Here is the link to purchase the Big Bag Beds:






Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.