Old Trail School and Countryside announced a new “Farm Project” partnership with several key goals, including: creating hands-on educational and curriculum development opportunities for the school; raising crops and livestock; composting and aquaculture; raising produce and eggs for use by the school’s kitchen; instructing and inspiring beginning farmers to become members of a resilient, sustainable food system; supporting farms within Cuyahoga Valley National Park; and involving members of the public in educational opportunities.
The partnership was announced last month at a special event held at the school on the site of its future Outdoor Classroom, which will be be constructed in 2019. The school operated an 11-acre organic farm on this site from 2013-16 in partnership with Hattie Larlham, and has been seeking a new partner since 2016 when Hattie Larlham discontinued its “Hattie’s Gardens” program.
“We are so excited to partner with Countryside on the Farm Project,” says Sarah Johnston, Old Trail School’s head of school. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with Countryside that has existed for several years. We are happy to have such a committed partner to help us take our agriculture and entrepreneur curriculum programs to the next level.”
The Farm Project will include crop and livestock production, as well as the school’s existing composting and apiary (beekeeping) programs. The school’s executive chef will work closely with Countryside’s farm educator to determine which farm products are needed to supply its lunch program. Any extra produce or eggs that are not needed by the school will be donated to local nonprofit organizations.
“This is a great partnership,” says Tracy Emrick, Countryside CEO. “Not only do we get to share our mission with the students, connecting them to where their food comes from, it’s a win-win for everyone.”