Humboldt County Office of Education: How to use Harvest of the Month Materials

How to use Harvest of the Month Materials

HCOE » Nutrition Programs & Services » Harvest of the Month » How to use Harvest of the Month Materials


The Humboldt County Office of Education Nutrition Programs and Services welcomes you to our Harvest of the Month resources. Here you will find a variety of materials we have created to support the implementation of Harvest of the Month in the classroom, afterschool, home and garden settings. We provide these materials to a set number of educators who we serve directly on a monthly basis. By making them available here, our hope is that anyone in Humboldt County (or elsewhere) can utilize our resources to make Harvest of the Month happen in their setting.

Why Harvest of the Month?

Harvest of the Month (HOTM) is a nutrition education program that makes learning about healthy eating fun and empowering. Originally developed by the Network for a Healthy California, HOTM programs now exist in many states across the U.S.

Each month we feature a different fruit or vegetable and create positive experiences for students to taste and learn about new foods with their friends. As a result, students express a greater willingness to try new things while gaining knowledge about how to fuel their bodies for physical activity and success in the classroom.

We feature HOTM items from the local region as much as possible, connecting students to different types of local food production, including food that is farmed as well as native foods that are tended and gathered.

HOTM really works! We absolutely love hearing from surprised teachers after their students fall in love with vegetables like leeks or turnips!

How To Navigate Our Site

The HOTM items we have created materials for are listed alphabetically.

  • Filter items by season with the buttons on the side.
  • Click in the index to jump to specific items.
  • Each item has its own page that shows the materials we have created for it. Not all items have videos or farmer profiles.
  • We are continually adding more materials, so check back often!

Overview of Our Materials

After using materials provided by the Network for a Healthy California for many years, we started to create our own in 2018.

  • The majority of items we feature are fruits and vegetables cultivated on farms in California and/or Humboldt County, however we have materials for native berries, and intend to develop materials for other native foods. We also have materials for cheese.
  • Our primary audience is preschool-third grade students.
  • We value diversity and inclusion. Our materials connect to cultures across the globe, and we rely on reputable sources of information for our content.
  • Local artist Thao Le Khac creates the beautiful artwork that brings our materials to life!
  • All HOTM documents linked on this site are PDF files that are ready for printing.

Our materials include:

  • Educator Newsletter: Provided to classroom teachers.
    • Information that provides a starting point for conversation with your students, including jokes, nutrition facts, historical and cultural information, and fun facts.
  • Family Newsletter/Boletín Familiar: Sent home to families with our Taste Make Learn recipe bags (in English and Spanish).
    • Fun facts, local connection for locally grown items.
  • Tasting Card: Provided to afterschool programs along with a recipe.
    • Fun facts about the HOTM item and an extension activity to do with students.
  • Video: When we are able to feature a local item, we create a brief video that shows how the item is produced/harvested in Humboldt County.
  • Farmer profile: When we are able to feature a local item, we offer a profile of the farmer or producer who provided the item to our program.
  • Recipes: Provided to afterschool programs and to families. Yields on the recipe card will signify which audience we meant them for (afterschool will typically say 20 tastings, and home recipes will generally say 4-6 servings).
    • We focus on simple, quick recipes that use basic cooking equipment.
    • All of our family recipes are provided in English and in Spanish.

How To Lead A Tasting

HOTM is all about tasting new foods!  One of the most important keys to success is to create a safe and fun tasting experience for your student(s)! How we talk about food matters, and we want students to have the chance to try the item without pre-judgement. Here are a few strategies that can help:

  • Have everyone try the item at the same time.
  • Provide students (and adults!) with ways to communicate their reactions and feelings to avoid influencing those around them. One way to invite feedback is to ask students to rate the taste by giving a thumbs up, down, or in the middle rather than shout out their opinions.
  • Encourage student(s) to engage all of their senses with questions like these.

Putting It All Together

We encourage you to use the tools we provide to craft a Harvest of the Month lesson that works best for you and your student(s). But in case it is helpful, here is one example of an activity plan that you might follow:

  1. Prep the HOTM item. Involve student(s) if possible.
  2. Watch video if provided and/or read suggested storybook(s).
  3. Taste the HOTM item. Rate the taste and/or use tasting questions to engage the senses.
  4. Use a newsletter or tasting card to lead a discussion about the item. Challenge student(s) to think deeply about the origins of food, cultural traditions around food, nutritional value to our bodies, as well as the production, harvesting, storing and distribution of food.
  5. Extend learning with the activity on the tasting card or do more research about the item.
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