South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program
- Need: To encourage children to make healthy eating choices through learning and tasting.
- Intervention: Brief, fun, and informative presentations and tastings for children on over 42 different fruits and vegetables.
- Results: Participants are exposed to new foods and show more interest in healthy eating.
Harvest of the
Month (HOM) is an adaptable, easy-to-use program that
gets kids excited about eating fruits and vegetables.
Through a short presentation and produce sampling,
children learn about the importance of eating fruits and
vegetables every day.
Since being brought from
California to South Dakota in 2008, South
Dakota Harvest of the Month has been working to
encourage healthy eating choices among toddlers and
elementary school students in communities across the
The program provides free, downloadable lesson plans for
teachers – complete with PowerPoints and printable recipe
handouts for students to bring home to their families.
Harvest of the Month may be offered in the following
- Individual classrooms (PreK-5th grade)
- Health classes
- Gym classes
- School assemblies
- Afterschool programs
- Home visits
"The long-term goal of Harvest of the Month is to impact
youth to make healthier food choices," said Rhea Waldman,
Executive Director of the South Dakota Discovery Center.
"If a kid chooses to eat a healthy snack instead of
sugary treats, we have been successful."
This short video shows a Pierre teacher using Harvest of
the Month in his gym class:
The HOM elementary school program includes a brief
presentation focused on an individual fruit or vegetable,
followed by a tasting. The interactive presentation
includes the following information:
- Peak seasons
- Vitamins and minerals
- Supermarket tips (choosing
fresh, ripe produce)
The HOM program for in-class preschool children includes:
- Fun activities involving the featured food
- Lessons on how eating the featured food helps bodies
grow healthy and strong
- An easy taste test
- A fun and simple taste test
extension that could be used for snack time
The home-visit program includes all of the above plus
easy ways for childcare providers and parents/guardians
to make purees for toddlers with the featured food.
Student handouts include a short review of the
information learned at school, along with fun and easy
recipes that families can try at home.
SD HOM has been offered in schools across the state, with
participants from 29 South Dakota towns, including all
Pierre elementary schools.
The program has recorded a number of testimonials from
parents, including the following:
"My son is much more willing to try foods that he
previously refused. Also, now if he is given the choice
and told that one food is healthier than the other, he
will make a conscious choice to pick the healthier food."
"We now always have fresh spinach and black beans at our
house. We eat them often. I add parsnips and green
chilies to soups and casseroles and sweet potatoes or
pumpkin puree to lots of baked items. Never would my
family have considered this before HOM!"
Additional parent and teacher testimonials are available
on the HOM website.
One barrier to implementing this program is finding
funding sources to purchase the food. In addition,
commitment from schools is necessary to sustain this
program beyond a guided implementation phase.
The South Dakota
Discovery Center can provide assistance in using the
HOM program and share their experiences.
Free, downloadable lesson plans for over 42
different featured foods are available on the South
Dakota Harvest of the Month website. All lesson plans include handouts, recipes, PowerPoint presentations, and alterations for pre-K and out-of-school learning contexts.
Children and youth
Food security and nutrition
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
June 18, 2013
Date updated or reviewed
May 25, 2023
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 7 December 2023]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.