Friday, October 14, 2011
Dana Middle School sixth graders pointed to the leaves growing in a planter box where several rows of school bus seats used to be. One recognized the snap peas, and another was stumped by the Swiss Chard.
If San Diego Unified's food services staff can raise the money, the bus will host more than just a few planters, though.
“We’d love to have hanging vines, fruit trees. The sky’s the limit. We’re definitely going to plan as a team how to do that and what physically actually can be in a bus. Everything from how much weight can it hold to what would be more exciting for students,” said Vanessa Zajfen, the district’s farm to school food specialist.
Zajfen came up with the idea of turning an old school bus into a mobile farm after seeing a pickup truck transformed into a mobile planting bed by Wicked Delicate Film Production, the New York City-based makers of the movie "King Corn."
Parker Templin was one of the first students to take a tour of the bus. He's already excited about what it could become.
“It’s smart because not everyone can just make a garden in their backyard," he said. "I mean, they have to have a ton of just plain-out money to be able to build it and keep taking care of it. Where this – it’s just they visit you and you learn a little about farming."
Knowing where our food comes from is an important part of learning healthy habits, according to Zajfen. She said a mobile farm would let the district reach more kids with those lessons.
The district has already gotten the support of several local farms and corporations, and is hoping to find more donors to get the program off the ground next year.