Sacramento school to get 2.5-acre farm, food literacy classes

A first-grader holds cherry tomatoes she picked in a school garden in El Dorado Hills in 2011.
A first-grader holds cherry tomatoes she picked in a school garden in El Dorado Hills in 2011. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento City Unified School District is moving forward with plans to construct a 2.5-acre student garden and food literacy center at Leataata Floyd Elementary School in northwest Land Park.

The Food Literacy Center, a nonprofit based in Sacramento, was selected Thursday to serve as program manager for the Leataata Floyd Farms, a project conceived in 2012.

While other schools in the Sacramento district have community gardens, the complex planned for Leataata Floyd school – south of Broadway off Third Street – will be the largest. It is to include a student garden, plus a half-acre plot for use by the surrounding neighborhood. The plan also calls for a two-story “Broccoli Headquarters” with a large kitchen-classroom and learning center.

Funding for the project is coming from the developers of The Mill at Broadway, a 32-acre residential project that will bring 825 homes priced from the $200,000s to the $400,000s to land near the Floyd school, whose economically disadvantaged student population comes largely from the adjacent housing projects.

Developer Northwest Land Park LLC will provide $100,000 for startup. . The Setzer Family Foundation is also providing $100,000. The land being converted into housing was formerly industrial property owned by the Setzer family, which still operates a sawmill on part of its land along Interstate 5.

Initially, backers said they expected the garden to be open by this spring, but that has been pushed back to fall 2017.

Leataata offers after-school food literacy programs that continue to be funded by Raley’s supermarkets. Additional funding for the project will come from donations from individuals and businesses.

In addition to the garden, the Floyd school will add food-literacy programs to its curriculum. Amber Stott, founding executive director of the Food Literacy Center, says the classes will include cooking, nutrition, food culture and cuisine. Students also will learn how to make compost and identify beneficial insects.

Students next door at Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School will be invited over to teach after-school programs. Thirty high school students will be trained and certified to become volunteer “Food Geniuses,” Stott said.

Sacramento City Unified board member Jay Hansen has spearheaded the project.

“As the farm-to-fork capital, Sacramento can put itself on the map by spearheading this unique project to teach students about healthy eating,” he said.

Hansen says the project will expose students to potential careers in the food industry. Both the student and community gardens will grow vegetables and fruit trees.

“Our mission is to inspire kids,” Stott said.


THANK YOU! Food Literacy Center was just voted in unanimously to take our program to the next level: a learning kitchen ...

Posted by Amber Stott on Friday, January 22, 2016