For FOOD SERVICE PROVIDERS:
Seeds and Seedlings: How Can I Menu Those?
You may be wondering how you can possibly source local seeds for your meal program. We realize that this is a tall order for most food service operators. There aren’t a lot of culinary seeds grown in this area and seedlings are meant for planting, not eating. For that reason, we encourage you to think about this month as a time to educate students about growing food and all the different kinds of plants that are part of a healthy diet. As the growing season begins, help students get excited for the delicious foods that will be coming as the weather warms.
There are, however, some delicious edible seeds that are grown commercially in Massachusetts. Wheat berries and many other edible ‘seeds’ are grown at Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA. They supply grains (or edible seeds) to a number of cafeterias, restaurants, and homes throughout Massachusetts. Check out their website for delicious recipe suggestions and to see what other local grains they have available! Interested in purchasing these seeds? Contact them directly or reach out to your distributor.
Recipes for K-12 school lunches:
- Green Bean, Cranberry, & Sunflower Seed Salad
- Sesame Noodles with Chicken & Vegetables
- Wheat Berry Salad with Cranberries
- Plant Part Salad Bar
Fill you salad bar with vegetables representing all the plant parts.Most plants are made up of roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and produce fruits containing seeds. Humans most commonly eat the seeds, fruit, leaves, or roots, but humans also eat the stems of many plants too!
Think about including the following items on your cafeteria salad bar and labeling which part of the plant they are! Students may not realize they are eating the roots, stems or flowers of the plant.
- Flower – Cauliflower or Broccoli
- Fruit – Cranberries or Apples
- Leaf – Spinach, Cabbage, or other Leafy Greens
- Root – Carrots, Beets, or Radishes
- Seed – Wheat Berries, Peas, or Sunflower Seeds
- Stem – Asparagus or Celery
And if you’re looking to bring school garden produce into your cafeteria, there are great tips on how to ensure safe harvest and safe preparation. View these best practices or this tip sheet from USDA.
Recipes for college dining services:
- Brown Rice Salad with Crunchy Sprouts and Seeds
- Morning Glory Muffins
- Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas
- Bean Sprout Wrap
- Feta and Wheat Berry Salad
For TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Here are some ideas for how to integrate seeds and seedlings-themed activities into classrooms and school gardens.
Text for morning announcements
“Good morning students, this is _____, with May’s Harvest of the Month soundbite. This month we are celebrating the start of the growing season! Farmers around Massachusetts are planting seeds and seedlings and beginning to harvest the earliest vegetables of the season. [If your school has a garden]: Our school garden is getting underway. Find a time to visit and ask your teachers how to get involved.
This month’s Harvest of the month is ripe for classroom connections. Island Grown Schools, a farm to school organization based in Martha’s Vineyard has compiled a great set of curricular resources all about seeds. View the full curriculum map here and check out a few specific topics below.
- Make and Decorate Seed Packets: A perfect project if students are saving seeds and makes a wonderful take-home gift.
- Make Seed Tape: This is a great measuring activity and can connect to the school garden.
- Six Seed Trail Mix: Make this edible mix while studying math
- Make a Mini Greenhouse from a CD Case
School garden activities
While a school garden isn’t a requirement for studying seeds and seedlings, it provides a perfect setting for experiential learning. Here are a few ideas for seed and seedling study in the garden.
- Seed Saving and Seed Study: A resource for educators
- Plant Salad Greens, a plant that’s ready to eat when it’s still a seedling!
- Seed Starting and Transplanting Tips
- Make Native Seed Balls
May is also a great time to think about how you will care for your school garden over the summer months. Check out this great guide to Summer in the School Garden.
For great ideas on how to connect your school garden activities to curriculum standards, check out the wonderful resource Common Core and Next Generation Science in the Garden.
For FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS
Share this information and try planting seeds and eating them at home!
- Download our family newsletter with fun facts, activities, and serving ideas for seeds and seedlings.
- Make seed snacks this month, they’re a healthy, delicious treat! Download this recipe for Fruit & Seed Bars.
- Interested in visiting a greenhouse or nursery where you can see a wide variety of seedlings and purchase some to grow at home? Here’s a map of farms & farm stands with seedling sales!
Thank you to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources for helping to make Harvest of the Month possible.