Garden to Cafeteria

Denver Public School’s (DPS) Food and Nutrition Services Department strives to “provide healthy food and nutrition education so all students will have the opportunity for success” in the classroom, in their daily lives and to set the foundation for healthy lifestyles as they grow and mature. For years, Slow Food Denver (SFD), Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), Learning Landscapes (LL) and the Kitchen Community have been collaborating on the grounds of DPS to establish school/community gardens and associated education programs. This Denver School Garden Coalition has manifested itself at dozens of DPS elementary schools, and has sought to serve the unique set of needs and circumstances within each school community, with the primary focus on student education and enrichment.

The Garden to Cafeteria (GTC) program is a unique opportunity for DPS students to grow fresh vegetables in their school gardens with the aim of supplying some of their harvest to the school cafeterias to be used at lunch service. The sixth season of the Garden to Cafeteria program was this past school year (2015-2016). Students sold over 901 pounds of produce to school kitchens for $1228. The DPS Enterprise Management Department pays garden programs for their produce so the money is reinvested in the school gardens.

Protocols have been put in place to assure the food safety of the vegetables harvested from the school gardens by students. Safety protocols have been adapted from Federal and State guidelines for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP), with the help of the Denver Health Department. The protocols cover everything from harvesting vegetables with students to how to compost vegetable scraps. Attached is the Garden to Cafeteria protocol (insert protocol here).

Thirteen schools participated in the Garden to Cafeteria Program last year. The following produce was harvested and given to the school kitchens to be served on the salad bars at lunch:

• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Concord grapes
• Cucumbers
• Green Beans
• Herbs (basil, parsley)
• Jalapenos
• Kale
• Lettuce
• Onions
• Peppers
• Squash
• Tomatoes. Cherry and yellow pear
• Tomatoes, slicing
• Watermelon


To participate in the Garden to Cafeteria program, schools must:

  1. Download the Denver Public Schools Garden to Cafeteria (GTC) registration form. Fill out the appropriate sections.
  2. Turn in the registration form to Anne Wilson or scan/ e-mail the form to Anne_Wilson@dspk12.org. You can also fax the form to 720-423-5629, ATTN: Anne Wilson.
  3. Be trained on the GTC protocol at an approved training –sign up here: GTC Training Sign-Up!
  4. Check in with your school’s Kitchen Manager to discuss harvest dates/times and the approximate quantity of produce you will be bringing. Note that Kitchen Managers are not permitted to use garden produce until adults harvesting with students in the school garden have been trained on the protocols. If you need additional harvest records click here.

E-mail Anne_Wilson@dspk12.org for more information or call Anne at 720-423-5608 for training dates and details.

What's New?

The 2017-2018 Free and Reduced Meal Application is now online! If your student received meal beneifts last year, you will need to complete a new application for the 2017-2018 school year.

Our Partners

Denver Enviromental Health
Slow Foods Denver
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Kitchen Community
Livewell@School Food Initiative

Contact Us

  Email: foodservices@dpsk12.org

  Phone: 720-423-5600

  Fax: 720-423-5629

   2320 W. 4th Ave, Denver CO 80223

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