Humboldt County Office of Education: Nutrition Services

Nutrition Dept Logo

A Fresh Approach to Student Health

HCOE Nutrition Programs and Services provides educators, School Food Service staff, students and families with the tools and resources to support student health.  We center many of our efforts around our long standing Harvest of the Month program. We use this framework to reach students during each part of the school day, including the classroom, cafeteria, and after school setting. Within all of our programs and services we prioritize a connection to local agriculture and food producers.

What We Offer

Harvest of the Month in the Classroom

The Harvest of the Month program motivates and empowers students to increase consumption and enjoyment of fruits and vegetables. Each month during the school year we deliver a featured produce item and our ready to go curriculum to over 200 K-5th grade classrooms across the county. Teachers use our materials to lead a tasting of the produce item with their students. We aim to source six to seven of our ten items from local farmers. During these months our materials include a farm video and farmer profile.

Our approach leverages the powerful influence that educators and a peer environment can have on a child by creating a positive experience for students to explore new foods with their friends during the school day. This opens the door for parents to join in the conversation about nutrition at home and support their child’s development of healthy eating habits.

Harvest of the Month in the Afterschool Setting

We build on our classroom based Harvest of the Month (HOTM) activities in the afterschool setting by offering students the opportunity to cook with their friends. Once a month we provide 25 after school programs that are part of the Redwood After School Network (RAN) with a recipe featuring the current HOTM item and the ingredients necessary to prepare it at their sites. Later in the month, we distribute 150 recipe kits to families of afterschool and Eureka Community School students as part of our Taste Make Learn Program (TML). The kits contain a more substantial HOTM recipe and related ingredients for families to make at home.

Support for School Food Service

We facilitate a network of school nutrition professionals who are valued for their critical role in the nourishment and education of our students. We provide resources, trainings, and one on one support to make sure individuals have the capacity and confidence to prepare high quality meals while meeting the challenges of budget, staffing, and regulatory demands.

Local procurement is an important piece of quality meals. After years of helping schools buy produce and beef directly from local farmers and ranchers, we are excited to partner with the North Coast Growers’ Association and their Harvest Hub to support Farm to School purchasing. The Harvest Hub food hub aggregates and distributes local produce and other products for schools and other buyers.

Support for School Gardens

School gardens can play an important role in shaping healthy eating habits among students. Our Humboldt School Garden Collective offers technical support to educators who use gardens for education and enrichment. We offer training opportunities, peer networking, work days, and one on one TA when possible. 

Nutrition Programs & Services Staff

Erin Derden-Little
Erin Derden-Little
Farm to School Coordinator
Nancy Kinziger
Nancy Kinziger
Nutrition Education Specialist II
Jesse Alm
Jesse Alm
School Garden Coordinator
Roxanne Mellick
Roxanne Mellick
School Nutrition Programs Specialist
Megan Russin
Megan Russin
Nutrition Education Specialist I

Harvest of the Month