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Community Engagement Programs

Farm to School Intern

Mollen Foundation for Childhood Obesity


The Mollen Foundation is a 501 C(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering schools and communities to transform their lives by adopting healthy habits to achieve life-long more



About the Internship


Work along-side the Head Garden Teacher and Head Chef Teacher to facilitate garden lessons and cooking recipes from the seasonal harvest to small groups in school garden and kitchen classroom. Harvest of the Month program will also offer opportunities to work alongside local chefs to facilitate school-wide cooking demos from seasonal harvest. Training will be offered at the start of the internship. Weekly reflection forms will be provided for feedback to ensure a meaningful intern experience.
Garden Responsibilities
Student interns will have the opportunity to participate as general support, co-facilitator, and lead facilitator throughout the semester. Weekly gardening lessons with 6th and 7th grade science classes will include integrated sustainability and life skills aligned to academic standards. Facilitation of general maintenance duties including; soil health, water, planting, seed saving, propagation, harvesting, composting will also be available.
Kitchen Responsibilities
Student interns will have the opportunity to participate as general kitchen support, co-facilitator, and lead facilitator throughout the semester. Alongside the Head Chef teacher, student interns will teach a small group in a seasonal cooking lesson with the garden harvest. Lessons will integrate basic nutrition concepts and cooking skills including; knife skills, reading and analyzing recipes, and sharing meals. Kitchen lessons with be aligned to Science and Social Studies standards and include plant origins as well as the history of food production.
Harvest of the Month
Student interns will facilitate school-wide taste test demonstrations alongside Mollen Foundation staff and local chefs using local and seasonal harvest. Once a month, taste tests will occur at several campuses throughout the Phoenix Elementary District #1 during lunch, before or after-school. Student interns may also oversee mentor-ship opportunities for 7th grade students to facilitate lessons to younger students and peers.

Population Served:

The Phoenix Elementary School District #1 consists of 14 schools with a district average of 84% students receiving free or reduced lunch. The Mollen Foundation, in collaboration with the Phoenix Elementary School District #1 is targeting schools with the highest percentage of free lunch and breakfast in the classroom programs for Harvest of Month Programming and school-wide taste tests. Indicated from data collected by City Data, Phoenix Elementary School District #1 students are 59.7% Spanish speaking at home with 82% of students identifying as Hispanic, 8% African American, 5% Caucasian, 1% Asian, 3% Native American, and 1% as 2 of the above combined.

Community Need:

Limited supermarket access varies across neighborhoods in central Phoenix, with much of the downtown area without high accessibility to a store with healthy food options. The neighborhoods within the selected schools are classified as low-income and physically inactive. With 15% of the adults living with diabetes, the opportunities presented through this project intend to increase student and parent participation in, and commitment to, healthy habits.

Community Impact:

Student interns will make a difference by providing direct service to students and families in an effort to increase access to local, fresh seasonal produce and resources to sustain a healthy lifestyle. By providing hands-on edible educational programming for school children to learn how to compost, grow, and prepare healthy food- barriers to healthy food access will be reduced and the wellness of the students and families will be increased.