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Dig In! Standards-based Nut Ed from the Ground Up

Ten nutrition education lessons that introduce students to the food system, gardening, food safety, taste testing, and more.


This standards-based curriculum presents an educational journey through the world of gardening and nutrition. Developed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition initiative, this supplemental unit is designed to encourage fifth and sixth graders to eat more fruits and vegetables and develop an awareness of how these foods are grown. Activities support national Common Core standards for math and English language arts, National Academy of Sciences standards for science, and national standards for health. Students learn knowledge and skills to develop healthy eating habits. Lessons include taste testing and food preparation activities for fruits or vegetables, including chickpeas, strawberries, cantaloupe, black beans, broccoli, bell peppers, and others.

What’s Inside

The curriculum includes 10 lessons with standards alignment and reproducible student handouts, a gardening guide, a home activity booklet, six mini-posters, menu graphics, and hand washing and food safety guidelines.

Activity Highlight

Lesson 10, Harvest Celebration, is a culminating event to showcase what students have learned throughout the unit and will allow them to share the garden and harvest with the rest of the school, families, and their local community.   

  • Key Content Areas: After School, Cafeteria Connections, Food Literacy and Cooking Activities, Garden-based, Healthy School Environment, Integrated Subjects, MyPlate, Parent/Family Involvement, and Physical Activity

  • Originator of Resources: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

  • User of Resource: Teachers

  • Audience: Grades 5 and 6

  • Languages: English (Parent booklet in English and Spanish)

  • Number of lessons: 10 lessons

  • Amount of time per lesson: 95–185 minutes for two to three sessions per lesson

  • Format: Downloadable or a printed version can be requested


To access the curriculum, visit the USDA Dig In! Standards-Based Nutrition Education from the Ground Up web page External link opens in new window or tab..


If you have any questions, please contact the USDA at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, July 28, 2023
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