Fresh Take Blog

You’ll be Loved Here: Reflections on the FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year

Jun. 3, 2024
Students love scrubbing vegetables FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year

“If I met a kid who never had FoodPrints before, I would tell them that you’ll be blown away by the food, and you’ll be loved here.”

– 5th Grader, Burroughs ES

As the 2023-24 School Year winds down across our 21 Foodprints partner schools, the warm sun shines on our gardens, students pick fresh strawberries and snap peas, and they reflect on their experiences and learning in FoodPrints this school year. Their thoughtful comments articulate FoodPrints’ programmatic goals to empower students and families with the knowledge and skills to access and cook fresh fruits and vegetables and to create positive food environments in our partner school communities in which nutritious food is celebrated and shared.

What are students saying about FoodPrints?

In structured conversions as part of an evaluation project with George Washington University researchers, more than 200 students shared their learning and experiences with growing, cooking, eating, and learning in FoodPrints:

Illustration of a beet with the word GROW written at the top

“I liked gardening because it was a new experience for me and we learned lots of useful information on how to grow plants and food.” – Burroughs ES

“One thing I enjoyed about FoodPrints this year was going outside to the garden and picking vegetables, and then washing them, and then cooking with them!” – Beers ES


Illustration of a spoon with the word COOK written at the top

“In FoodPrints, I liked learning how to use a box grater and how to peel potatoes.”                – Langley ES

“Because of cooking in FoodPrints, I can now offer to help my mom with cooking at home.” – Beers ES


illustration of a magnifying glass over a leaf and the word LEARN at the bottom. FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year“When I go to middle school I am going to miss FoodPrints because we do things I’ve never tried before like doing a water filtration experiment to understand more about water conservation.” – Beers ES

“We really liked learning about and playing with the worms!” – Langley ES


A fork in a carrot and the word Eat written at the bottom FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year

“One thing I did not like about FoodPrints this year is that we did not get seconds of the Pesto Pasta! I wish we could have gotten fifths of the Pesto Pasta!” – Beers ES

“We worked together to make recipes and we tried new things. The food was delicious!”       – Amidon Bowen ES


“We don’t like waiting [many weeks] to come back to FoodPrints.” – Francis Stevens ES

FoodPrints changes the food environment in our classrooms, schools, and communities

Across our 21 partner schools, our team of 30 educators taught more than 1,500 FoodPrints sessions this school year. More than 15,000 pounds of fresh produce was procured from FRESHFARM farmers and producers through the Pop-Up Food Hub for cooking, eating, and learning in our classrooms.

To create meaningful experiences for students, we foster positive experiences with fresh, nutritious,Students love exploring whole grains in FoodPrints. FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year and delicious foods in our FoodPrints classes and in the larger school community. 

Students gain skills and knowledge in the FoodPrints classroom:

  • During a “Eating the Whole Grain” lesson, 4th grade students at Whittier ES took turns using a hand mill to grind wheat berries. Students studied a diagram of a wheat berry to understand the differences between whole-grain flour and white flour. They were amazed to learn that they could make their own whole-grain flour and that it packed so many more nutrients than white flour.
  • 5th-grade students at Malcolm X ES sliced watermelon, cantaloupe, and feta cheese, tore mint leaves for Melon Salad, and then added a drizzle of dressing on top. Students reminded each other about safe knife skills and handwashing. When it was time to eat, students called out, “Thank You, Pollinators,” recalling prior knowledge that we would not have fruits like melon without pollinators!

Students bring knowledge and skills gained in FoodPrints home to their families:Students love using the salad spinner in FoodPrints! FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year

Two FoodPrints alumni reflected on how their FoodPrints experiences translated to home, saying:

  • “FoodPrints helped you be independent because as you got older, they gave you less and less help and eased you into being able to do it yourself. So it’s not only teaching, it’s teaching you to be independent in cooking for yourself.”
  • “We all got recipe books that we could take home once we made it in class. I definitely made a lot of the recipes at home so I think it definitely impacted the types of things that I made with my family.”

Families are motivated to join school-wide events hosted by FoodPrints and buildStudents love harvesting produce from the FoodPrints gardens. FoodPrints 2023-24 School Year connections to our staff and each other through celebrating and sharing food:

  • During a family garden harvest event at C.W. Harris Elementary School, one student proudly said to his mom: “We grew all this ourselves!” and showed her all of the different types of vegetables he had grown. They took a whole bag full of fresh garden veggies home to cook together.
  • When reflecting on a FoodPrints Family Cooking Night at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, a parent of a PreK and 1st grade student said, “We loved everything about our Friday evening with FoodPrints! The recipes were delicious (and healthy) and easy to make, the girls enjoyed showing Mom their FoodPrints room and talking about everything they have learned this year, and we were able to get to know other families we otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to spend time with outside of school hours.”

As we look ahead to next school year, our students’ reflections on what they loved, learned, and would change about FoodPrints helps us continuously improve our approach. We look forward to working with our partner schools to create more positive experiences with nutritious food to sustain minds and bodies, grow healthier communities, and build appreciation for the natural world.

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