Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
Food and Nutrition Programs

MA Farming Reinforces Education and Student Health (MA FRESH) Grant Program Awards

FY2023 MA FRESH Awardees

Assonet Daycare | $5,250
Assonet, MA

Assonet Daycare is building a new school garden and greenhouse and sponsoring two field trips to an area farm. Students started seeds in their classrooms and are now regularly tending to the plants as part of their day. They are learning about the life cycle, observing how plants grow, and sharing in the excitement of growing strong and healthy plants

Boston Public Schools | $12,300 ($37,700 FY24)
Boston, MA

Boston Public Schools, in partnership with Green City Growers, a Boston-based company that partners with schools and businesses to transform underutilized spaces into biodiverse food production landscapes, is bringing hydroponic lettuce towers to English and Charlestown High Schools. This pilot project, "Lights, Water, Lettuce!" introduces student grown lettuce to the salad bar and provides professional development for teachers to support integration of the hydroponic system into their curriculum.

Bridge Boston Charter School | $45,668 ($4,312 FY24)
Boston, MA

Bridge Boston Charter School has used their grant allocation for MA FRESH to fund the transformation of a vacant lot into the Jennifer Daly Outdoor Laboratory and Classroom, a garden named after their founder. The school will now host nine cedar raised beds, plants and soil, galvanized steel trellising, a drip irrigation system, and fixture options for an outdoor classroom. MA FRESH is providing both the infrastructure and professional development services to care for and maintain the garden. Curriculum utilized incorporates MA STEM standards, language arts, math, social studies, art, and social-emotional learning.

Fitchburg Public Schools | $23,356 ($500 FY24)
Fitchburg, MA

Reingold Elementary School, serving over 660 students in grades 1-5, is piloting a more integrated STEAM curriculum, indoor grow tower, and garden expansion through the MA FRESH grant. In partnership with the community-based organization, Growing Places, Reingold Elementary will provide professional development trainings to teachers and install indoor grow towers and an outdoor community garden on site.

Gloucester Public Schools | $10,000
Gloucester, MA

Gloucester Public Schools, in partnership with Backyard Growers, a community-based garden organization, piloted a high schooler mentoring program. Mentors became ambassadors for Gloucester's Farm to School program, made age-appropriate promotional signage to engage younger students, assisted with garden lessons, prepared and served samples of local vegetables, and engaged with students as a resource for extra information and support. MA FRESH funding also allowed Food Services to purchase new kitchen tools to use in the Harvest of the Month program.

Guild of St. Agnes | $24,663
Worcester, MA

The Guild of St. Agnes' utilized FRESH grant funds to provide the much needed sinks, refrigerators, freezer, dish washer and work tables at the University Collaborative Early Education and Center. This equipment enables staff to now prepare and serve fresh, nourishing meals on site to the 177 children in 7 preschool and 3 infant/toddler classrooms. Students at this center reflect the general population the Guild of St. Agnes serves, largely children from low income households or those who are in the DCF system.

Medway Public Schools | $19,840
Medway, MA

In partnership with Medway Community Farm, the Medway Public Schools is expanding their farm to school program through creation of an on-site elementary school garden at the Burke-Memorial Elementary School, professional development for the school's cafeteria staff, and food systems education for students including regular visits and project based learning at the community farm.

MetroNorth YMCA | $6,200
Lynn/Melrose/Saugus/Peabody, MA

With MA FRESH funding, the Demakes Family YMCA was able to relocate their raised bed gardens to a higher visibility location where they can reach new youth and their families and integrate the garden with the early care and afterschool curriculum. Working with UMass Nutrition Extension, students and families are receiving lessons around how food choices impact growth and development, cooking lessons, and more.

Northampton Public Schools | $9,366 ($36,164 FY24)
Northampton, MA

Northampton Public Schools is expanding their Freshampton food service program to include a comprehensive, experiential food system education program called Fresh Kids. FRESH grant funds are being used to hire a Farm to School Classroom Educator from School Sprouts Educational Gardens and work with Grow Food Northampton to provide field trips to their community farm. As part of FRESH Kids, Grow Food Northampton will also launch a new youth mentoring program for middle and high school students focused on organic farming next school year.

Provincetown Public Schools | $9,740
Provincetown, MA

Provincetown Public Schools has utilized MA FRESH funding to implement "Let's Grow," a project centered around the school garden and Sustainable CAPE's Farmer in the School Program, which is expanding education, awareness and exposure to the Cape's farm and fishing community through field trips, garden lessons, and food production for the cafeteria. The MA FRESH grant will culminate in a fall clambake and celebration in October.

Rainbow Child Development | $8,963 ($7,962 FY24)
Worcester, MA

Rainbow Child Development is utilizing MA FRESH to implement a comprehensive Farm to School program for their preschool students, families and staff. Their program, in partnership with the Regional Environmental Council (REC) and UMass Nutrition Education, is bringing students out to gardens for hands-on lessons to learn how plants grow, cooking lessons, taste tests, and field trips to the REC farm and farmers market. MA FRESH has also provided Rainbow Child Development with the needed funds to provide professional development for preschool teachers, so they can expand much-needed after school programming and increase their familiarity with preschool-age appropriate farm to school education.

RFK Community Alliance/Dr. Franklin Perkins School | $38,544 ($12,150 FY24)
Lancaster, MA

The Dr. Franklin Perkins School, a year-round day and residential, co-educational special education school, is transforming their outdoor gardens into outdoor classrooms and work spaces and adding indoor grow towers to facilitate winter production. This will support the food service department to continue increasing the use of fresh fruits and vegetables and engaging students in growing the food they will eat while expanding the project-based learning opportunities that support the social and emotional benefits of working outside and working with their hands.

Shaloh School Oholei Torah | $33,337 ($16,663 FY24)
Boston, MA

Shaloh House is using MA FRESH funds to install an indoor "micro-farm" to provide fresh produce in the winter months and is building cold frames for their existing outdoor garden beds to extend the growing season and provide expanded opportunities for experiential learning. They are also adding kitchen equipment to meet the growing demand for the Kosher and Halal meals they prepare each day, now at 800 daily meals.

Somerville Public Schools | $32,000
Somerville, MA

Somerville Public Schools has been utilizing MA FRESH funds to reach nearly all of the students in the district through increased local food procurement of local strawberries, potatoes, seafood and dairy products, combined with hands on lessons in school gardens and field trips to Groundwork Somerville's South Street Farm. They are focused on solidifying classroom-cafeteria & garden learnings, developing more culturally relevant menu offerings celebrating the diversity of Somerville Public Schools' population, and educating addressing district policies and practices to best support wellness and food access.

South Shore YMCA | $7,803
Quincy/Hanover/Norwell, MA

The South Shore YMCA hosted a professional development training for 87 early education professionals, helping them feel comfortable in the garden and supporting them to bring farm-to-school lessons into their classrooms. On-site learning takes place at all of the South Shore YMCA early education locations and they are doing a remarkable job layering state and federal funding to further support the physical growing spaces and implementation of farm to school programming.

Springfield Public Schools | $8,950 ($12,724 FY24)
Springfield, MA

Springfield Public Schools received funds to expand their school garden program and host a professional development training for educators. As the second largest district in Massachusetts, Springfield garden advocates have identified the need to develop more building-level support so that educators can feel empowered to bring students out to any of the more than 35 school gardens in the district. The additional gardens installed will provide greater access to outdoor growing spaces, bringing the number of school gardens to over 40.

FY2024 MA FRESH Awardees

ABCD Head Start & Children's Services | $11,242
Boston, MA

ABCD Head Start & Children's Services will build a new garden, invest in professional development for food service staff and purchase equipment to increase access to fresh produce for enrolled children and their families. The garden will provide opportunities for teachers to enhance their curriculum, access green space in an urban environment, and teach children about gardening and nutrition. Food service staff will increase their knowledge and ability to prepare unprocessed food from the garden and work with teachers, children, and families to provide food for taste testing events.

Boys & Girls Club of Metro South | $20,000
Taunton, MA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South, serving more than 2,500 youth ages 5-18 each year, will utilize MA FRESH funds to support the expansion and delivery of innovative nutritional education and assistance programs. As they fully operationalize their third hydroponic Freight Farm adjacent to their downtown Taunton Clubhouse, MA FRESH funds will facilitate the adaptation and implementation of comprehensive nutrition education programs and support youth engagement, food security, and community development.

Codman Academy Charter Public School | $13,922
Dorchester, MA

Codman Academy will utilize funds to create a new initiative "Urban Roots" to focus on evidence-based urban agriculture curriculum integration in every grade from K1-12th, while providing direct in-school guidance and support to teachers. Urban Roots will increase local and regional produce and seafood procurements, establish new and current indoor growing systems for all middle school students and implement an Urban Roots Certification in Controlled Environment Agriculture Readiness, that will prepare our high school youth with marketable urban agriculture based technical skills.

Community Action Pioneer Valley Head Start & Early Learning Center | $8,550
Greenfield, MA

Community Action Pioneer Valley, Head Start & Early Learning Program will utilize MA FRESH grant funds to provide professional development training for its food service staff. This will in turn help by expanding educational programming to promote food literacy and nutritional education for our students around preparing, cooking and eating locally grown foods. Community Action Pioneer Valley's weekly 'Nibbles Snack Activity' will allow children to fully participate in a hands-on nutritious snack. As part of this project, Community Action Pioneer Valley will secure the tools and materials needed for children to help prepare these snacks and integrate the MA Harvest of the Month program into snack activities.

Community Charter School of Cambridge | $3,985
Cambridge, MA

Community Charter School of Cambridge will create a farm-to-school initiative with its middle and high school students that provides experiential learning opportunities, as well as the opportunity to celebrate cultural culinary traditions. Grant funds will be used to support travel to Land's Sake Farm to learn about how the farm operates and how it grows/harvests its produce during each season. Produce from the farm will then form the basis of a cooking class at a local community kitchen at the Foundry in Cambridge. Students participating in the cooking portion of the program will share family or cultural dishes and recipes and will learn how to prepare the food in a kitchen and enjoy a meal together afterwards.

Ellis Early Learning | $25,000
Boston, MA

Ellis will partner with Green City Growers to promote hands-on learning experiences achieved through food and nutrition education. Ellis believes that increased guided exposure to its garden will allow for more engaged interdisciplinary learning that will help students prioritize local and sustainable food options. Through this partnership, Ellis's students will be working with urban agriculture experts in order to better understand where the food they eat comes from.

Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School | $50,000
Hathorne, MA

The current farm operations at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School (ENSATSD) are, by volume of production, on par with many local small farms and food producers; however, the district's ability to safety handle, wash, and store this produce is lacking. As a result, much of the produce cannot be served to the student population. This proposal includes many measures to implement and support a robust food safety program, including expanded cooling space, wash-pack station construction, staff & student training, water and soil testing, all in hopes of leading to a successful GAP audit and certification by school-year end. Through this project the entire student population will not only be able to access the freshest possible food to support them in their academic and technical endeavors while at school but will be all the more versed and involved in their local food system, becoming food-literate citizens and eaters in their own communities.

Greenfield Public Schools | $3,017
Greenfield, MA

Greenfield Public Schools will collaborate with local non-profit, Just Roots, to launch a new farm to school initiative at the elementary grade level. All GPS elementary students will participate in monthly taste tests of local foods following the harvest of the month program. Additionally, all third grade students will visit Just Roots Farm for a curriculum-aligned fall field trip and receive two additional food literacy lessons during the 2024-2025 school year.

Haverhill Public Schools | $21,790
Haverhill, MA

The hydroponic garden project for the Bartlett School and Assessment Center, aims to increase healthy eating habits by cultivating a variety of nutrient-rich vegetables and herbs to integrate into school food programs. Through hands-on participation in the garden's setup and maintenance, students will learn about plant growth, nutrition, and sustainability, fostering an appreciation for fresh, organic produce. This project will offer a sensory-rich environment while encouraging healthy eating habits and empowering students to make informed food choices for a balanced diet.

Holyoke/Chicopee Head Start | $18,645
Holyoke, MA

The project will build off of existing gardens at Educare Springfield and Churchill Head Start to fully integrate gardening and healthy foods into year-round use within the school curriculum. With the support of MA FRESH and partnership with Mass Audubon, the schools will receive professional development, resources and connections to bolster nutrition and gardening education for students and increase family and community engagement. Increased use of the gardens will allow for more food to be integrated into school meals and a larger diversity of culturally appropriate crops to be grown and shared.

Holyoke Public Schools | $23,479
Holyoke, MA

Our MA FRESH grant will be used to ensure that all six elementary schools in Holyoke Public Schools have school gardens on site where students can participate in gardening in order to increase food literacy, their sense of belonging in the school community, and to develop a sense of curiosity and willingness to try new things. Holyoke will expand existing gardens in five schools and create an entirely new garden space in one of the schools, establishing school garden cultures with longevity in mind. Funds will also be used to launch a classroom taste test program so students can try the types of foods they are growing in the garden and give feedback on their preferences.

Lenox Public Schools | $11,010
Lenox, MA

Lenox would like to add two Fork Farms Hydroponic systems. One system will be located at each school in the district. This will allow all students access to these hydroponic grow systems. Students will be involved in the growing and harvesting. Produce will be used on the menu and salad bar.

Mashpee Public Schools | $33,400
Mashpee, MA

Mashpee Middle High School (MMHS) in collaboration with the community partners Barnstable County Cooperative Extension Office of Nutrition Education and Food Safety, Master Gardeners of Cape Cod, and Health Ministry is building and sustaining an educational farm. The program integrates fresh, unprocessed produce harvested directly from the onsite farm into the menus of the school cafeteria which reflect the diverse cultural backgrounds of the students. The farm will be an edible educational outdoor classroom that creates new opportunities for hands-on learning through food and food systems. The food sovereignty provided by the farm will broaden students' culinary horizons while elevating both the quality of life and academic achievements of all. The MMHS Community Farm will be a hub for the classroom, cafeteria, and community.

Medway Public Schools | $7,000
Medway, MA

The Memorial School's MA FRESH project will conduct a school-wide produce tasting session and host a poster contest about the local food cycle for 4th grade students. Additionally, Memorial School will expand its partnership with the Medway Community Farm to include its 2nd and 3rd grade students in an annual school-based farming educational experience.

MetroWest YMCA | $28,583
Framingham, MA

The MetroWest YMCA aims to enhance its commitment to promoting holistic well-being by expanding its garden initiatives. With funds from the FRESH grant, MetroWest YMCA will be able to grow more fresh fruits and vegetables, fostering nutritional awareness and food education within its early learning centers. Through hands-on experiences such as classroom taste tests, gardening lessons, and cooking classes, MetroWest YMCA will educate students and their families to make informed choices around locally produced food, promoting both individual health and environmental sustainability.

Mystic Valley YMCA | $8,675
Malden, MA

Funds received from the MA FRESH grant will be used to purchase hydroponic garden towers for children to explore concepts related to the life cycle of seeds and how to grow produce. Produce will be used directly in Mystic Vally YMCA's cooking classes. The garden towers will promote lifelong healthy habits and social and emotional learning, while based in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) activities. These garden towers will be used throughout the Mystic Valley YMCA's preschool programming as well as the childcare centers in Malden and Medford.

Norfolk County Agricultural High School | $4,317
Walpole, MA

Norfolk Aggie's Abundance Garden will expand its produce availability to students and the greater community. Norfolk Aggie will install a vegetable wash and pack area, and cold storage for its cafeteria. Both of these additions will allow Norfolk Aggie to fully utilize its garden by assuring more fresh food gets into the cafeteria.

PACE Head Start | $13,900
New Bedford, MA

PACE Head Start program will plant a community garden of fresh fruits and vegetables in beds, and also fruit bearing shrubs. The program will partner with Bristol Agricultural Highschool to acquire an intern to support the garden and work with children to plant and tend to the produce growing in the new space. Fresh produce grown through the project will be used by our trained chefs to supplement our nutritious meal program and incorporated into culturally reflective recipes and family engagement opportunities.

Prospect Hill Academy Charter School | $23,345
Cambridge, MA

PHA will focus on educating students about how farming impacts student health, by sharing where food comes from, the work it takes to grow and harvest fresh produce, and the myriad ways students can incorporate nutritional fresh produce into their daily lives. The MA FRESH grant will be used to pilot a program with 9th graders, their teachers and members of the school's nutrition team, providing them with a transformational experiential learning opportunity at the Farm School. This opportunity will connect participants to the land and introduce them to the work that goes into planting, growing, and harvesting fresh produce. Then, when they bring their knowledge back to PHA, to share with our entire PreK-12 community, everyone benefits.

Salem Public Schools | $17,050
Salem, MA

Salem Public Schools will connect its existing Farm to School programming, which includes procurement of fresh local foods and Harvest of the Month tastings in the cafeterias, with the classrooms of its six K-5 elementary schools. Funding will support professional development for SPS K-5 teachers to integrate Farm to School curriculum including experiential learning in school gardens, culinary and nutrition lessons, and to provide field trips to local farms for fifth graders. Funding will also be used for data collection and evaluation activities during the grant period.

Waltham Boys and Girls Club | $25,000
Waltham, MA

Get Fresh will be a hands-on science program where a local nonprofit farm is the classroom. Over the course of several weeks, participating youth will get to experience first-hand how produce is grown, while building their knowledge of horticulture, food systems, and life cycles. Along the way, the program will promote healthy habits, environmental awareness, personal growth, and teamwork. Get Fresh will culminate in a community dinner where students will prepare a community meal featuring the produce they have grown for their families and guests.

Webster Public Schools | $11,900
Webster, MA

Webster Public Schools will strengthen and expand Farm to School efforts by increasing whole school community involvement. They will provide a multi-purpose school garden that benefits all members of the school community to enhance a sense of belonging and empowerment. Students will actively participate and learn in ways that support their health and sustainable awareness, with a farm to school to table rounded approach.

Westford Public Schools | $16,190
Westford, MA

The multi-disciplinary team at Nabnasset is excited and committed to creating an inviting and highly visible garden-based learning lab for our entire PK-2nd grade community to experience the wonder of how food is grown and appreciate its impact on life systems. Students will explore gardening, observe living things and be given the chance to learn, surrounded by a beautiful and peaceful landscape.

Last Updated: March 20, 2024

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.