Baby Steps

It was thrilling to hear about LAUSD’s healthier lunch menu options last year, and disheartening to learn of the student’s lackluster response. My initial reaction to LAUSD’s decision to nix the healthier, more diverse fare this year for ‘healthier’ pizza and burger options was outrage! How could they toss out the new menu after only one try?!

But then I considered the tons and tons of food going to waste because of the student’s aversion to the new menu, and in light of the recent Huffington Post article about food wasted in this country, I realized this problem goes far deeper.

Bravo to LAUSD for giving it a try, but the odds were against them from the start! Suddenly switching up a menu isn’t the solution. Kids who are used to eating pop tarts for breakfast aren’t suddenly going to give quinoa a shot. It looks like fish eggs. They aren’t even going to try it, sealed up in a plastic wrapped container in the lunch line. It’s just not going to happen, not when there is a vending machine full of Snapple in the cafeteria and an ice cream truck waiting at the gate.

But switch to a garden setting, and attitudes toward food change. I am constantly amazed how kids will clamor for a slice of cabbage or a taste of basil; how they beg to munch on ripe tomatoes and squeal over strawberries; how they rush to throw their scraps into the compost. How they line up for second servings of freshly harvested salad, and can’t wait to make our garden recipes for their parents at home.

And this is the real solution. Baby steps. Connecting kids to real, fresh food that they’ve grown themselves! From soil to plate.

Recently I had a heartbreaking conversation with a student in the garden. As I chopped romaine lettuce for our snack, she told me she loved it and used to eat it all the time.

“Used to eat it? You don’t eat it any more?” I asked.

“No, it’s too expensive. My parents can’t afford to buy it.”

And this is the sad, sad truth we are currently faced with. Real food is expensive, when purchased in the grocery store. McDonald’s is not.

Again, the real solution is baby steps. This student’s parents may not be able to buy romaine lettuce, but thanks to her school garden, she’ll know how to afford-ably grow it, harvest it, eat it and love it.

School gardens are the answer to changing kids’ attitudes about food. Baby steps…one romaine seedling at a time.

 

It was thrilling to hear about LAUSD’s healthier lunch menu options last year, and disheartening to learn of the student’s lackluster response. My initial reaction to LAUSD’s decision to nix the healthier, more diverse fare this year for ‘healthier’ pizza and burger options was outrage! How could they toss out the new menu after only one try?!

But then I considered the tons and tons of food going to waste because of the student’s aversion to the new menu, and in light of the recent Huffington Post article about food wasted in this country, I realized this problem goes far deeper.

Bravo to LAUSD for giving it a try, but the odds were against them from the start! Suddenly switching up a menu isn’t the solution. Kids who are used to eating pop tarts for breakfast aren’t suddenly going to give quinoa a shot. It looks like fish eggs. They aren’t even going to try it, sealed up in a plastic wrapped container in the lunch line. It’s just not going to happen, not when there is a vending machine full of Snapple in the cafeteria and an ice cream truck waiting at the gate.

But switch to a garden setting, and attitudes toward food change. I am constantly amazed how kids will clamor for a slice of cabbage or a taste of basil; how they beg to munch on ripe tomatoes and squeal over strawberries; how they rush to throw their scraps into the compost. How they line up for second servings of freshly harvested salad, and can’t wait to make our garden recipes for their parents at home.

And this is the real solution. Baby steps. Connecting kids to real, fresh food that they’ve grown themselves! From soil to plate.

Recently I had a heartbreaking conversation with a student in the garden. As I chopped romaine lettuce for our snack, she told me she loved it and used to eat it all the time.

“Used to eat it? You don’t eat it any more?” I asked.

“No, it’s too expensive. My parents can’t afford to buy it.”

And this is the sad, sad truth we are currently faced with. Real food is expensive, when purchased in the grocery store. McDonald’s is not.

Again, the real solution is baby steps. This student’s parents may not be able to buy romaine lettuce, but thanks to her school garden, she’ll know how to afford-ably grow it, harvest it, eat it and love it.

School gardens are the answer to changing kids’ attitudes about food. Baby steps…one romaine seedling at a time.

 

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Bruschetta at Kingsley

By Justine Tyler | April 1, 2018

Bruschetta is an antipasto (starter dish) from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. The wonderful kids and I at Kingsley Elementary made this classic dish today. Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 20 minutesYield: Makes 24 small slices, serves 6-10 as an…

A plant is what?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 29, 2018

When teaching about gardening, it is impossible to engage students if they don’t know what part of a plant I am talking about! For this lesson, I covered the parts of a plant. I discussed the roots, stem, leaves, fruit and flowers. I brought in a dug up mallow plant (to show roots, stem, leaves),…

Beets are rad(ish)!

By Sarah Shutman | March 27, 2018

Beets are rad(ish)! This year, Valentine’s Day was full of nostalgic excitement, as I remembered my days of elementary school, full of sugary candy and a “holiday”. This was my first year teaching on Valentines Day, and I wanted to share something special with the students of 2nd  Street Elementary. I decided to do a…

That makes a plant?!

By Sarah Shutman | March 22, 2018

For this lesson, I planned to cover plant reproduction via parts of a flower. This was the first lesson that required thinking on my toes and adapting my plan (something that I am quickly learning). I drew out a picture and went over the descriptions. The pre-K and 2nd graders were  lost and distracted. They…

Love Nature

By PJ Johnson | April 12, 2018

Valentines Day at Gardener School Love Nature. We showed our love for nature at Gardener School. The students were allowed to pick the most interesting leaf in the garden from any place in the garden and they had  to write something to it like a poem or a love letter. Ms. Thaviphone class created leaf…

Gardener School – Composting

By PJ Johnson | April 11, 2018

2nd-grade class: We visited the three compost bins in the garden.  Finding Mr. Brown carbon examples and Mr. Green Nitrogen examples to put in the bins.  They gathered brown leaves from the ground and picked three things to identify which it was carbon or nitrogen.  We also looked at a compost thermometer, talking about the…

Pollination at Gardener Street Elementary School

By PJ Johnson | April 10, 2018

Talk to the class about pollination today.   The kids identified the stamen and pollen on the flowers in the garden.  They also took herbs from the garden lemon balm, mint, lavender, sage.  They also identified the pollen on some herb plants.

Van Ness Deep in the Dirt

By PJ Johnson | April 9, 2018

We cleaned up the beds and Ms. Chelsea and Udie pulled weeds together. The students in the VI part of Vaness got their hands deep in the dirt.  Pulling out weeds from the beds especially in areas where we have overgrown vegetation.  We have eaten a lot of Romain lettuce with Hummus because the kids…

Compost Learning at Van Ness School

By PJ Johnson | April 8, 2018

New group of kids learning about compost.  We took a poll as to what [a cup of worm castings] worm poop was just by looking, touching and smelling the worm castings.  The students really were interested in what they could put in the Darth Vader like compost bin

Van Ness School making seed bombs with the VI kids

By PJ Johnson | April 7, 2018

This was a great exercise for the kids especially Udie.  Chelsea the OT specialist at Vanes and I partner to play with our students at Vaness.  Udie also helped to crush roasted eggshells for the compost.

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