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Farm to School Program

Attention Caregivers: New Roots Charter School offers free meals to all students. All students enrolled at New Roots are eligible to receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at school at no charge to your household.


School lunches have never been so fresh and delicious!

New Roots School is part of a growing Farm to School movement across the country connecting school lunch programs with local farms.  Not only do these relationships bring healthy food into the cafeteria, they also help youth see the impact that food systems have on communities.

Allyn Rosenbaum, New Roots Farm to School Coordinator, leads student classes in planning and preparing school lunch with locally-grown produce. Using the farm and kitchen as classrooms, Allyn works with students to create wholesome, satisfying meals — a refreshing departure from the usual cafeteria spread. In addition to understanding the hard work required to sow, harvest, procure, and prepare whole foods, students gain a true appreciation for the creativity that makes a meal richly appetizing and thoroughly nourishing. And school lunch is one of their favorites.

Our Farm to School meals program also integrates the study of agricultural science and hands-on applications at local farms with our community-based learning curriculum. As part of this program, all students have the experience of applying academic studies to field experiences at sustainable farms like West Haven Farm in Ithaca, among other local farms.

West Haven Farm, one of the area’s most exemplary small farms, is an important part of the New Roots campus. Located close to downtown, West Haven Farm offers a model for connecting with the earth through farming and farm management. Thanks to the commitment of these local farmers, New Roots students participate regularly in activities at the farm where they get hands-on experience growing some of the food used in daily lunches.

Through the Farm to School meal program, agricultural studies focus on learning where and how to procure foods locally and affordably, and learning to design systems for food processing, storage, and preparation.  New Roots students learn about sustainable food systems by being part of one that results in great school meals. This experience gives them a foundation for understanding the critical importance of a vibrant regional food system to our community’s health as we enter an era of declining fossil fuel resources.

Local nutritionist Dr. Jennifer Wilkins, Director of the Farm to School program at Cornell University, helped design New Roots' program. Dr. Wilkins is working in partnership with EcoVillage at Ithaca's West Haven Farm and the Center for Local Foods and Farming.

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