Our primary partner in implementing our programs, the district serves over 14,000 students in a 56-square mile area, approximately 45% of which qualify for free or reduced school lunch. There are 16 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 high schools, and 1 continuing education center in the school district. The district serves seven ethnic subgroups and many socioeconomically disadvantaged families. Despite serious budget restrictions, the Santa Clara Unified School District has continually supported and funded educational programs for at-risk populations. Its long-term vision is to close the achievement gap for its disadvantaged students. As a partner in the foundation of Full Circle Farm, the school district has leased District land at a below-market rates and fosters curricular partnerships with faculty.
Stanford University and the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford School of Medicine
Dr. Christopher Gardener is a nutrition researcher at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. He is actively seeking funding to design and implement the most comprehensive evaluation of farm-based learning programs ever conducted. This study will be designed by a collaborative of Stanford researchers in nutrition and education departments. It will begin with a needs assessment of SCUSD’s health curriculum to help staff develop curriculum at Full Circle Farm which best fills in the districts most pressing educational ‘gaps’. From this point, researchers will systematically document students’ and families’ baseline data in order to be able to measure the impact of the farm’s programs as they are implemented.
Full Circle Farm works with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to bring their exceptional educational and outreach programs to Santa Clara County. Having CAFF bring their operations to Santa Clara County brings Full Circle Farm and the students of SCUSD a well-honed, proven educational program of local, sustainable agriculture and the farmers that perform this important work. Full Circle is CAFF’s Santa Clara County home base.
Full Circle Farm has partnered with Healthy Silicon Valley and their mission to make Silicon Valley the healthiest region in America. This strategic alliance has allowed us to effectively promote local, sustainable agriculture as both a environmental solution and an educational tool. Active participation in the Healthy Silicon Valley Food Providor’s Collaborative has made valuable professional connections, bringing together advocates and entrepreneurs from all sides of the food system.
We are proud members of Kaiser’s Health Eating Active Living (HEAL) Initiative, which strives to improve the food and physical activity environments of Santa Clara County schools. Support from the HEAL Initiative was instrumental in establishing the farm’s first infrastructure and community events, and we are looking forward to partnering with their wide array of health experts as we work to develop programs to encourage healthy living in both classrooms and cafeterias.
CINC is the Bay Area chapter of the Children & Nature Network, inspired by Richard Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods, which documented the need for time outdoors in natural environments as part of healthy childhood development. We are working with the collaborative to expand thinking on “natural environments” to include and celebrate agricultural spaces. This has led to many incredible opportunities to partner with similar nonprofits who are working toward different yet complimentary goals, and expanded the mission focus of Full Circle Farm to include unstructured time on the farm as part of our curriculum.