We were so excited when Kate Sweeny contacted us about a story she was working on focusing on the farm to school movement in Atlanta. She came to visit our school, observe a lesson, and talk to kids about vegetables. That particular day, we were harvesting kale out of the garden and cooking up a kale soup. You can see an excerpt from the article below or listen to the entire story here: http://wabe.org/post/kids-vs-vegetables-locally-sourcing-young-appetites
At Springdale Park Elementary, Jenna Mobley’s second grade environmental education class raises plants on the school’s rooftop garden. Today, they’re picking kale leaves and making a soup. It’s the same veggie that’s grossing out kindergartner Jack Funderburk across town.
Twelve APS Schools have classes that somehow incorporate gardens, but this one is the most extensive. Mobley brings the kids’ math, social studies, and even Language Arts lessons into the outdoors—but she says it’s really about the basics.
“Something I noticed when I started teaching these lessons, is a lot of kids don’t know what a carrot looks like coming out of the ground, or how those things are grown, or what they look like in nature. They’re so used to just finding food in a grocery store.”
Mobley says her class helps kids to be successful adults by bringing real-life experience into the school-day. The students learn about nutrition. On the day they pick the kale and make the soup, there’s a review Q&A about which vitamins kale is strongest in. (A: Vitamin A, that vision-promoter, is the big champ.)
But they also learn to care for plants and cook food. They learn all about different kinds of broth, and how to use a can opener. In this classroom, home-ec meets science class.
All this aside, the moment of truth comes when the kids return to try the soup they made from the kale they grew. Choruses of “It’s good”s and requests for seconds signal a successful inroad against picky eating.
It could be that nothing builds appetite quite like a sense of ownership from the ground up.