By Ben Eichorn of GrowYourLunch.com (Reprinted with permission)
School lunch continues to be a hot topic these days. At the end of September, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was up for re-authorization and voting was postponed until December 2015. For now, the 5-year-old standards for increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption and reducing salt in public school cafeterias remain in place, though on shaky footing.
The primary question at the heart of the debate around re-authorizing the Act is not about whether the food is good for our children, but rather, “Do kids actually eat the healthier food if it’s provided to them.” And the answer is yes and no – both sides of the debate can provide evidence to support their claims.
At Grow Your Lunch, we are heartened by the significant strides being made toward increasing the availability of healthy food in schools (see National Farm to School Network, Chef Ann Foundation and Center for Ecoliteracy, among many organizations doing great work in this area) but we remain troubled by the barriers to consumption due to our local youths’ lack of familiarity with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Science and Our Food Supply – Free Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms
What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have created Science and Our Food Supply, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes. An advisory board of experienced teachers just like you developed and tested the materials.
The story revolves around a sister-brother team, Lexi and Jason Williams, who are determined to win the First Annual Garden Contest sponsored by the local Farmer’s Market.
In the process, we learn about such gardening subjects as: the importance of planting certain vegetables at certain times of year, the importance of fertilizers, worm poop, rotating crops, trellises, beneficial insects, pollination and much, much more.
I recently came across a very valuable teaching resource for both educators and students from a very unlikely source – Afghan Ag.
e-Afghan Ag is supported by the USDA and managed by University of California, Davis with additional information from other land grant universities such as Cornell and Purdue. The url is http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/
The site contains university researched best practices for farmers in Afghanistan including an entire section of Educational Materials. Of the educational materials, check out Horticulture, Field Crops and Soil.
Two Junior Master Gardener Pop Up Opportunities:
For Ages 7-14
July 14th and July 16th 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Imagine picking a cauliflower from your garden and making a pizza from it. A cauliflower crust pizza has no flour and hence no gluten. Who doesn’t like pizza? Everyone likes pizza. Kids will be lining up to sample it.
Intrigued? I surely was, couldn’t wait to try it. You can even fold it like a pizza slice.
The directions are in this recipe courtesy of the Lucky Penny Blog.
Bursting with flavor and just the right infusion of insight, Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems presents a collection of poems from thirty-four writers on the most universal topic of all: food. Featuring a wide assortment of styles, from haiku to acrostics to free verse, these poems touch on topics that range from lighthearted to seriously thought-provoking. Whether the focus of the poem is a child’s battle over eating peas or a celebration of fair trade, this collection introduces kids to a fresh new view of where their food comes from.
They’ll love following along as they track what they eat—from a tiny seed all the way to the fork that brings it to their mouth! Throughout the anthology, each entry’s words and ideas are brought to life by Norie Wasserman’s stunning black-and-white photographs, which themselves are poetry for the eyes. A fun and enlightening read for kids eight to twelve years of age, this collection will add to your family’s dinnertime conversation, while also providing an excellent resource for teachers and librarians.