By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
It has been a busy month in our Youth Education Program. We have transitioned from leading outdoor field trips around Crimson & Clover Farm to making Moroccan Carrot Salad in the classroom. Heather, our Youth Education Coordinator, has visited 14 classrooms so far to discuss healthy eating choices and to teach students how to create a fresh carrot salad.
She has been visiting kindergarten through 3rd grade in Pepin, Leeds, Jackson St., Ryan Road, and Bridge St. schools in Easthampton and Northampton. Grow Food Northampton offers these workshops at no cost to schools, thanks to generous donor support, including from the Bunny Rattner Foundation and River Valley Co-op.
The workshop begins with discussing snacks that students like to eat and categorizing them into: Always, Sometimes, and Rarely snacks. Heather is helping kids familiarize themselves with healthy eating, and to encourage agency around making healthy food choices. The workshop also familiarizes students with food preparation featuring local and seasonal ingredients.
The carrot salad is broken down into three main stations that each student participates in, and ends with creating their own individual salad. Students start by grading a carrot into a small bowl. Then they add a spoonful of pepitas and soaked raisins on top. In the next station, Heather leads the students through making a salad dressing with lemon, olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, and honey. The final step is writing down the recipe on their own recipe card (for older students). Each student gets a metal ring so that they can attach the recipe card and bring it home. Students often comment on how excited they are to make the recipe at home with their families.
The carrots used in the recipe are local and in season. A lot of the students harvested carrots during the Crimson & Clover fall field trip so they’re familiar with their seasonality and how to harvest them. Heather will continue to lead this workshop through January and then will be offering workshops with new recipes so that students can continue to grow their cookbooks and their cooking confidence.