Lopez Island Farm Education (L.I.F.E.) Program
The Lopez Island Farm Education (L.I.F.E.) Program is an innovative K-12 curriculum that encourages students to learn about gardening, nutrition, and the environment; reduces the risk of childhood obesity and illness related to diet; provides the cafeteria with fresh, locally grown food year round; and promotes a sense of community pride.
The program has its roots in the Farm-to-School program started in 2002 by Henning and Elizabeth, whose farm continues to serve as an outdoor classroom that teaches high school students to grow, harvest, prepare, and eat healthy foods.
A collaborative effort to expand the scope of this successful program began in 2005 between Lopez School District, Lopez Community Land Trust, Lopez Island Education Foundation, S&S Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Family Resource Center along with Washington State University, WSU Extension Office – San Juan County, and the Heller Family on Lopez Island.
In just a few years, the L.I.F.E. Farm and Garden Program has replaced the institutional diet of commodity foods served in the school cafeteria with locally raised meat and natural, healthy produce grown by the students on the public school campus. By linking to public policy and looking for sustainable, healthier alternatives to conventional approaches, the L.I.F.E. Program shows what a public school can do to promote and support a culture of health and wellness among students, staff and the community.
Farm, Food & Sustainability
This elective class at Lopez High School is a very “hands-on” approach to learning about soil, plants, seeds, food choices, and growing healthful foods year-round here on Lopez. Elizabeth Simpson takes students in her class to the farm, where they manage a 20′ x 48′ greenhouse and bring the harvest back to school to be used in the cafeteria.