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Hill Top Highlights

CAIU’s Hill Top Academy Hosts Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, highlighting Pennsylvania’s Farm to School Success


Dr. Saia and Redding at Farm to School press event

(L-R) Hill Top Academy's mascot, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, CAIU's Executive Director, Dr. Andria Saia

Hill Top Academy, a K-12 school operated by Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU), is one of 84 Pennsylvania schools to receive a Farm to School grant through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill. The Farm to School program is dedicated to improving access to healthy, local foods and increasing agriculture education opportunities for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Pennsylvania’s farm to school programs provide nearly one million Pennsylvania kids with access to fresh, healthy produce and simultaneously spark an interest in agriculture,” said Redding. “Empowering students to know where their food comes from is one of the most powerful tools we can provide to today’s youth.”

Hill Top Academy utilized their grant to partner with Good Keeper Farm, providing students first-hand opportunities to experience agriculture and use fresh, local food in our cafeteria meals.

CAIU’s Executive Director, Dr. Andria Saia spoke at the event. Dr. Saia talked about the importance of the partnership connecting our students to the food they eat, promoting mental and physical wellness. “Our staff never lose sight of the child at the center of what we do,” said Saia.

Hill Top Academy has piloted a student garden through a partnership with Good Keeper Farm. The students delve into learning about where our food comes from and learn about urban farming. Topper, Hill Top Academy’s mascot passed out carrots to the guests, freshly pulled from the student’s garden.

Hill Top Academy has plans to incorporate healthy produce from Good Keeper Farms into their cafeteria lunches and plan many harvest events with their own garden throughout the year. “This grant will help bring the student’s learning to life. It takes learning out of the pages of a book and makes it a real, authentic and meaningful experience they will remember,” said Hill Top Academy Teacher Ms. Sciacca.