ELSA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — One IDEA school in the Rio Grande Valley is incorporating students to be a part of its campus farm program to improve children’s health and education about nutrition.
IDEA Elsa is one of few public schools in the Rio Grande Valley to have its own local farm, a news release from IDEA Public Schools stated. Students offer hands-on assistance at the IDEA Elsa campus farm to produce fruits and vegetables that make its way to the school’s cafeteria.
Jordan Roney, an experienced farm manager at IDEA Elsa, oversees the campus farm and includes students to be a part of growing produce as part of the school’s curriculum.
“I see excitement with some students during my lessons, but it’s much more from my special education students,” Roney said in the release.
The IDEA Child Nutrition Farm Program allows students at IDEA Elsa to learn about food, sustainability, nutrition and socio-emotional development.
“We saw improvement with them last year on their mood, behavior and health so we continued to incorporate them out on the farm to help me harvest, plant new vegetables, work on small gardens, create delicious meals and more,” Roney said.
IDEA schools across Texas and Louisiana employ farmers who grow produce for IDEA cafeterias that will directly go to the plates of students.
In the 2021-2022 school year, IDEA farms supplied produce to over 85,000 student meals and 13,000 on-farm education hours.