Heather, our Youth Education Coordinator, is completing her second lesson of the classroom workshop series. The focus of this workshop is food energetics and eating seasonality, and the primary activity is making applesauce. Heather taught this workshop in 24 classes from kindergarten through third grade in the Northampton and Easthampton public schools.
The workshop starts out by addressing what foods are in season and the benefits of eating seasonally. The class discusses how many fall vegetable and fruit crops such as, potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, and apples are stored through the winter. These “in-season” crops contain sugars and starches that are helpful for us to consume throughout the winter. Then, summer vegetables and fruits are discussed such as cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and watermelon. All of these crops contain high amounts of water which help with staying hydrated through the hot summer months. After discussing the health benefit of eating in season foods, the class talks about where non-seasonal foods come from and how food miles (the distance each item of food travels from farm to plate) affect our environment and climate.
The class then breaks into two groups. One group gets a recipe book and worksheet to copy down the applesauce recipe and draw matching illustrations. The students in the other group each get an apple and cut it up into pieces. Each student gets to add their apple and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon into the large pot. The water is then added and the apples are simmered and mashed. After the applesauce is ready, it is divided into bowls and the students are able to eat their final product!
Heather says about the workshop, “I think we forget how dependent we are on the earth for our health and well being and food energetics and making apple sauce is such a wonderful experiential way to feel that connection. It also opens a doorway to talk about topics of local versus non-local and non-seasonal food, where our food comes from, and the resources involved in getting food to our table that isn’t local. With this lesson, as with all the lessons, I’m hoping to experientially teach how our relationship with food can be healing for our bodies and for the earth.”
The Northampton Public Schools mentioned our workshop in their recent newsletter. We have also received wonderful feedback from teachers.
I’m a ‘1 %er.’ Not through hard work and perseverance, nor by my ingenuity, nor vision, but by my family inheritance. My inheritance money accumulated due to many of the exact factors that have kept my Valley neighbors in many generations of economic and social insecurity: unfair labor practices; systemic racism in housing, employment, and education; and American capitalism and world imperialism. What an opportune time to return some of ‘my’ money ($20,000) to those nearby, who are suffering economic and food insecurity in this time of COVID. The Community Food Distribution Project (CFDP) has created an amazing distribution network between our Valley farmers and our community suffering food insecurity. What an awesome opportunity to donate!! Please consider taking this perfect historical moment with me to return some of your family wealth to our beloved Valley farmers and neighbors!
“We are pleased to be able to contribute to these worthy organizations that meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members during this time of crisis. The Community Food Distribution Project was easy to get behind. It’s a grassroots effort created and supported by our local community to help those most in need.”
“It was fantastic and well organized! LOVED the lesson!”
– 3rd Grade Teacher from Ryan Road
We will soon be announcing and starting the next lesson for the classroom workshop series. We are extremely grateful to the Bunny Rattner Foundation, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the late Representative Peter Kocot for critical support of our Youth Education program.