FRESHFARM's food education program in partnership with DC Public Schools

FoodPrints is an education project of FRESHFARM that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools. Watch the FoodPrints video to see our program in action. 

Imagine a program that integrates hands-on gardening and cooking with science, math and language arts standards in a school setting. Imagine a kitchen classroom where students investigate, chop, peel, measure, and cooperate to prepare and eat tasty, nutritious meals and snacks together. 

Imagine a school garden that grows radishes, kale, lettuce, peas, herbs and carrots where students can see where food comes from, learn about the life cycle and, learn to work together and be comfortable in nature, and get their hands dirty.

Imagine new connections between schools and local farmers and farm stands that make fresh produce more available for families and increases support for the local farmers and food producers.

If you can imagine all this, you can imagine FoodPrints in action!


FoodPrints is the nutrition education program of FRESHFARM, a DC-based non-profit that promotes sustainable agriculture and improves food access and equity in the Mid-Atlantic Region. FRESHFARM FoodPrints aims to improve health outcomes of children and families  in partnership with Washington, DC, schools. Our expert educators teach standards-based, hands-on lessons that bring science and social studies to life — and get students excited about growing, preparing, and enjoying fresh, local, whole foods. 

By bringing together the a kitchen classroom, a school garden, and curriculum, we provide unique experiences with growing, harvesting, preparing, and cooking nutritious local foods. We engage families through volunteer opportunities, simple nutritious recipes sent home, family cooking nights, and access to farmers markets.

The benefits are not only new ways to learn academic content, students also learn more about how to work cooperatively with each other, about where food comes from, how wonderful nutritious food can taste, and how to make positive changes in what they and their families eat. 

foodprints in action

> Watch the video of a surprise visit from First Lady, Michelle Obama, to one of our partner schools in February 2016, as part of her Let's Move campaign.

> Watch our FoodPrints video to see classes in action and perspectives from teachers, parents, principals, and policymakers

> Hear "Why These Kids Love Kale" in a story from NPR's Cory Turner after he visited the FoodPrints Food Lab at Watkins Elementary School (November 14, 2014)

I learned to choose nutrient dense foods instead of energy foods. Energy foods are bad because they are unhealthy. I also learned that energy dense food clog up your arteries. You could get a heart attack! My favorite thing about FoodPrints is how the teachers inspire us to eat healthy. I think I am very lucky to have Food Prints at my school.

our reach

We bring an amazing reach of education expertise with 10+ years’ experience working with DC public schools and a lean staff of certified teachers, nutritionists, and local food experts. During the 2015-16 school year FoodPrints:

  • Taught 2,200 students in six DC public elementary schools, 
  • Worked with a majority of students from underserved populations and high-poverty areas (most of our current schools have populations with 99% of the students eligible for free and reduced meals)
  • Provided classes with nearly 2,000 teaching hours
  • Involved more than 800 parent volunteers
  • Cooked more than 100 nutritious recipes
  • Hosted a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Let’s Move campaign
  • Earned countless smiles and requests for “seconds” from children and parents alike


“FoodPrints” is a take-off on “carbon footprint." In our program, children learn about the impact their choices make on their personal health and the health of our planet. Using project-based learning and hands-on experiences with gardening and cooking, we empower children to lead healthy lives and to be stewards of the environment.

FoodPrints started small in 2005, bringing farmers into the classroom and taking classes on farm field trips. Rudolph Elementary School was our first partner school until it closed in 2008. In 2009, we launched our flagship program at Watkins Elementary School and have since expanded to five additional schools, now reaching more than 2,100 students! We have a robust partnership at each school, and we could not do the work we do without the support of the administration, teachers, staff, and families that make each school community thrive.