Organic Produce Co-op
Since 2009, Montessori Academy of Naples has run an organic produce co-op for the school, its families, and the local community. Along the way, the program has received guidance and support from Green Village Organics. Every Thursday morning, the big truck from Albert’s Organics pulls up to the school and delivers farm fresh fruits and vegetables.
While the co-op has proven to be a cost-effective way to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into the school’s snack and lunch menus, it serves a much more important function as a teaching tool for the students. It was the intention from the start that the children would participate with the co-op. They see the farm fresh produce arrive every Thursday morning and eagerly participate in sorting and bagging the orders for pick-up at the school in the afternoon. It is a much anticipated weekly event. The co-op also exposes the children to a myriad of garden fresh products and encourages conversation about health and nutrition and entices children to try new things. There is even a Montessori Academy of Naples cookbook It’s In the Bag that uses the weekly bounty in many of the recipes. The lunch menu incorporates recipes from the cookbook as well.
At the Upper Elementary level, students (grades four through six) learn how to operate the co-op as a business. They learn how to fill the out orders for the distributor, inventory the orders on arrival, and process the orders for customer pick-up. They also run a monthly Co-op Marketplace for potential patrons who would like to purchase a few items rather than a full order. The Co-op Marketplace is open from 2:30 to 3:30P.M. one Thursday per month from September through May and is open to the public. For more information about the Co-op, contact Montessori Academy of Naples at 239-597-2255 or email@example.com. To join the weekly co-op, go to naplesmontessori.schoollunchchoice.com.