Cultivating Knowledge and Nourishing Futures: The Kids' Food Basket Educational Journey
Kids' Food Basket has been connecting children with nourishing meals since its founding in 2002. They are widely recognized for their Sack Supper program, which provides approximately 10,000 evening meals each weekday to children in West Michigan. Their commitment, however, goes beyond addressing food insecurity. Through their strong community partnerships and educational initiatives focused on agriculture and nutrition, Kids’ Food Basket is empowering people, young and old, to cultivate a lifelong love for healthy eating.
Jason Lundberg, KFB Farm Manager, manages four staff members and nearly 9,000 community volunteers who help grow food at a10-acre farm off Plymouth Avenue in Grand Rapids, and another one in Ottawa County on 104th Ave. in Holland. Together they grow nearly 30,000 servings of produce for Sack Suppers.
Jason shared his passion for teaching children about the origins of their food and the importance of healthy eating. Through their Grow and Learn priorities, Kids’ Food Basket demonstrates their belief in the transformative power of agricultural education. Engaging children in hands-on activities, they unlock a world of curiosity and wonder. Jason shared “I’ve had kids tell me, ‘I want to be a farmer like you!’ after they’ve spent time here. Magic happens when a kid can pick food from a plant and eat it. It is deep-seated in human nature to grow and eat good food.” Their farm experience ignites a spark of connection with the natural world that fosters an appreciation for growing food.
Every year, thousands of students get to experience that spark because of Kids’ Food Basket. “Whether they come to the farm, or we take our lessons to their classrooms, they are getting a face-to-face agriculture activity. I ask them what their favorite color is and help them find fruits and vegetables to eat based on that,” Jason said. Actively involving children in planting, gardening and harvesting produce creates a profound sense of ownership and pride. These experiences not only teach children about agriculture but also instill a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards their environment.
Kids’ Food Basket knows that collaboration and community involvement are necessary for genuine change. They collaborate with community organizations and supply over 150,000 servings of produce from their farms altogether. “Each winter we visit partner agencies. We ask what food people like to eat or what they grew up with, and then we grow those things,” Jason said. Hot peppers are in high demand at the pantries. “We ensure there is a supply of fresh, nutrient dense produce that anyone would be happy to eat,” Jason shared. Kids' Food Basket gives their clients a sense of ownership and empowerment.
Kids’ Food Basket’s commitment to food equity and belief in the transformative power of healthy food shines brightly in West Michigan. Through a culture of caring, community partnerships and empowering children, they are working towards a future where every child can access nutritious food.