Farm to Summer extends the Farm to School model into the summer months, integrating local foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nutrition or agriculture-based activities into summer meal programs. Farm to Summer activities ensure children and teens retain access to nutritious meals and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. The  Farm to Summer Challenge celebrates schools and community organizations using Farm to Summer strategies to improve summer meal programs. Organizations completing at least one activity from one of the three challenge areas were recognized with the Gourd, Silverbeet or Broad Bean award.

Farm to Summer challenge areas:

  • Eat: Serve locally grown food or eat a locally grown cucumber for Cucumber Crunch Day.
  • Grow: Participate in a gardening activity, take an agriculture-related field trip or host a gardening professional, such as Master Gardener for a lesson.
  • Engage: Share your Farm to Summer activities through social media, local media coverage, a newsletter, a website, or other engagement channel.

Congratulations to our 2023 Farm to Summer Challenge awardees!

Gourd Award Winners

Parma City School District; Parma, Ohio
Parma City School District served locally grown cucumbers to 40 children in their summer feeding program for Cucumber Crunch Day. The district also led a planting activity through an online learning platform. Approximately 85 families received a Sungold tomato plant and weekly instruction on how to grow and care for the plant. Farm to Summer programming was advertised through the district’s official social media page.

A child enjoys a cucumber slice for Cucumber Crunch Day. 

Parma City School District’s advertisement of Cucumber Crunch Day.












BridgeWater Learning Center; Hamilton, Ohio
BridgeWater Learning Center, a childcare center in Hamilton, Ohio, served locally grown cucumbers to 52 children for Cucumber Crunch Day. Children in the center’s prekindergarten and school-age classrooms also participated in container gardening. Children cared for herbs and vegetables throughout the summer months. Farm to Summer activities were promoted in social media posts and a parent newsletter.

A child in the Pre-K classroom waters seedlings.

BridgeWater Learning Center’s advertisement of the Farm to Summer Challenge.


Lodi Family Center; Lodi, Ohio
Lodi Family Center is a non-profit organization with the goal of strengthening the local community by connecting families to resources like a food pantry, after-school programming, 4-H Club, a parenting support group and more. This summer, Lodi Family Center incorporated local foods into 92 of the 112 meals on their summer menu. The center also designed a “Chopped Challenge” during which children used foods from a fresh produce bar and a mystery food item to create a fun, healthy, and appealing snack. Kids maintained a hydroponic and outdoor garden throughout the summer. The fruits and vegetables harvested were used in taste test activities and served in lunches and snacks. The center promoted Farm to Summer activities in social media posts, weekly newsletters and through a “Dino Dig” community event hosted in collaboration with the local fire department.

A child holds a fruit and vegetable kabob made with bell peppers harvested from the Lodi Family Center garden.

Children pose with radishes they harvested from the Lodi Family Center garden.












Silverbeet Award Winners

Miami Trace Local School District; Washington Court House, Ohio
Miami Trace Local School District served locally grown cucumbers to 287 children on their first day back to school for Cucumber Crunch Day. The district highlighted this fun event in a post on their social media page.

Children receive their lunch, featuring cucumber slices for Cucumber Crunch Day.


Painesville City Local School District; Painesville, Ohio
Painesville City Local Schools uses a mobile meal truck called “The Lunch Box” to serve children in need. Painesville partnered with the district’s extended summer learning program and the Holden Arboretum during their Plant & Tree Week. Children potted their own basil plant, learned about growing their own food, and made pizza seasoning from dried herbs. The Lunch Box made a tomato and mozzarella salad for the children to use their seasoning on for part of that day’s lunch. Painesville City Local Schools promoted their summer feeding program and various enrichment activities on the school district’s website.

Children enjoy a tomato and mozzarella salad as part of their summer lunch.


Ohio State University Extension Hancock County with SNAP-Ed; Findlay, Ohio
The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension office in Hancock County held a Cucumber Crunch Day at the Hancock County Farmer’s Market and served samples of cucumbers and cucumber dill dip. Educational materials on the nutritional benefits of cucumbers were provided with cucumber samples to 35 youth and 10 adult participants. OSU Extension and the Hancock County Farmer’s Market advertised the event on social media.

Extension employees hold props for the cucumber “selfie” station at the Hancock County Farmer’s Market.


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