Project Localize in Omaha is an educational program that helps classrooms identify and promote sustainable economic, cultural and social progress in their communities. In Project Localize we work with schools to engage students in local foods discovery at school gardens and nearby farms. Students share what they find in their own voice through artistic photo collage and editing in collaboration with curriculum developed by Lexicon of Sustainability. In one school year, Project Localize expanded to two additional schools, four more grade levels and hundreds more students.
Mammel Foundation and Cox Charities funded the initial launch of Project Localize with Omaha Public Schools’ Fontenelle Elementary and Omaha Street School during the 2016-2017 school year. As the school season wound down Ms. Vickery’s fourth grade class from Fontenelle Elementary paid a visit to Common Good Farm in Raymond, Nebraska. The farm practices organic and biodynamic farming methods. Farmers Ruth and Everett were amazed by the carefully prepared questions the fourth graders presented. The visit allowed the students to explore in depth the vocabulary they have been building, as well as connect with key stakeholders in their local food community.
The expansion of Project Localize in Omaha with Omaha Public Schools, funded by The Sherwood Foundation, includes professional development for 30 teachers and administrators, program instruction for 400 students, student field trips to local farms, hands-on activities and pop-up art shows. The expansion began with a training for teachers and administrators in April 2017 and continues with daily instruction for Pre-K to 5th grade students during summer school in June at Fontenelle, Harrison and Conestoga Elementary schools. Nearly 350 students are engaged with the program in Omaha this summer. Neva Wolf, NMEP Project Localize Program Manager shared, “the Project Localize staff is excited about this summer’s program. The students are learning a lot about our local food system on field trips to local farms. You can see it in their artwork.”
Project Localize in Omaha will continue this fall with new schools in the 2017-2018 school year. Stay tuned for pop-up art show dates and locations.