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
expand healthy eating choices for toddlers and elementary
school students in communities across the state.
The program can be offered in:
- 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. If a kid chooses to
eat a healthy snack instead of sugary treats, we have
been successful," said Rhea Waldman, Executive Director
of the South Dakota Discovery Center.
View this seven-minute video of a Pierre teacher and his
The HOM elementary school program includes a brief
presentation focused on an individual fruit or vegetable.
Before children sample the food, presenters explain the
- 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
The HOM Out-of-School learning plans include:
- A short review of the nutrition concepts learned at
school or an introduction if HOM is not used at school
- A fun and easy snack that the youth can make with the
SD HOM has been offered in schools across the state, with
participants from 29 South Dakota towns, including all
Pierre elementary schools.
According to a parent of a participating child:
"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."
Another parent shared:
"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!"
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 past a guided implementation phase.
The South Dakota
Discovery Center can provide assistance in using the
HOM program and share their experiences.
Lesson plans (with handouts and recipes) for over 42
different featured foods and Pre-K and Out-of-School
learning plans are available on the South
Dakota Harvest of the Month website. Users are
required to create a free account to access the
Children and youth
Food security and nutrition
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
June 18, 2013
Date updated or reviewed
May 4, 2022
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 28 May 2022]
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.