Growing Great Schools (GGS) is a community-based effort headquartered in West Hartford, Connecticut. Our misson is to create healthier schools by connecting food, culture, health, and the environment. The vision of Growing Great Schools is to empower students to become active participants in their nutritional and physical health, while caring for the planet.
Learn more about GGS at our upcoming event
A Culinary Symphony April 26, 2014- 5:30-7:15PM in partnership with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
Save the Date- April 26, 2014 - tickets available March 1.
Growing Great Schools seeks to ensure that all students in Connecticut have access to local, healthy food, and food education as well as understanding the connections between food and environmental sustainability as a part of their everyday lives.
Because We spend $147 billion annually on obesity related illnesses in the United States.
Studies show that when students have a connection to their food sources, they are more likely to make healthy choices, protect the environment and cultivate strong sustainable communities. A comprehensive approach linking food, culture, health and the environment can foster that important connection. Our current initiatives include the following:
- Supporting the efforts of West Hartford Nutrition Services by offering the Chefs Move to Schools program. One of Growing Great School’s most important alliances is the relationship it has developed with local chefs. Each public elementary school is paired with a local chef. The chefs have developed a variety of healthy menu options, which are introduced to students through taste testing events.
- Ensuring that each school gets a salad bar and is able to offer fresh, healthy choices on at least a weekly basis to all students and staff.
- Coordinating Fall and Spring student-run farmers’ markets, in an effort to expose students and their families to healthy, locally-grown produce.
- Supporting the efforts of the schools to develop school gardens that are maintained by students.
- Promoting physical health and fitness in schools by developing and supporting before, during and after-school fitness programs such as running clubs and active recess opportunities.
- Offering a junior master gardener curriculum in conjunction with UCONN to provide a turn-key solution for teachers who are interested in incorporating lessons from a school garden into their own curriculum.
- Serving as an advocacy group and central resource for parents, educators and community members to implement our mission.
This approach has proven successful in public schools all over the country. When given healthier food choices including more fruits and vegetables, students were more likely to consume them if they learned about their food, its nutritional benefits and corresponding environmental issues through hands-on activities including School Gardens, Chef to School and Farm to School programs.