By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
Our first Grow Food Kids Classroom Workshop series of the year wrapped up just before the holidays. Thirty-five classrooms and over 700 students in Northampton’s elementary schools enjoyed the delicious and educational Kale Salad Workshop.
This was the first workshop under our new system of working with all K-3 classes in the district, which allowed us to meet many new students and teachers who hadn’t participated before. Our reach has expanded a lot, and we will see these same kids 3 or 4 more times this year.
Each workshop began with Ellena Baum, our Local Food Educator, gathering the group together for a short lesson on the parts of a plant and how those different parts are used in the food we eat. Students passed around a bag of empty food packages and took turns discussing which parts of the plant was used to make each food. This simple activity provided lots of lively conversation and a chance to learn from each other.
“A warm bowl of flat, round seeds.
Some shriveled-up, round, dried fruit.
Some crushed up bark on top.
And a cup of leaves in water.”
-Ellena’s Breakfast Riddle- Can you guess what she had for breakfast?
Next, Ellena introduced the recipe that the students would be preparing, Kale Salad! Many of these students had attended one of our fall field trips to Crimson and Clover Farm and discovered their love of kale, so there was excitement in the air.
After washing hands, the students returned to their seats to prepare their own individual salad. Each student ripped and massaged their kale, chopped their apple and carrot and helped to prepare the dressing. The final step was assembling the salad with raisins and dressing to taste. This same Kale Salad was served in the school cafeterias during the month, helping to create connections for kids between the classroom and healthy choices at school lunch.
It’s not good…. it’s not great…. it’s amazing!
–2nd grader at Ryan Road
We are thankful for a strong partnership with the Northampton Public Schools including Superintendent John Provost, each elementary school principal, a dedicated group of teachers and our wonderful community volunteer Marta who all help to make this a successful program. And for funding from an anonymous foundation and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education secured by the late Rep. Peter Kocot and retired Rep. John Scibak. Next up, we’ll be providing four more workshops this school year focusing on apples, butternut squash, dairy, and our perennial favorite, rainbow salad.
“It was a great lesson. It had visuals, movement and song, hands-on learning, and EATING! They loved it!”
– Leeds Kindergarten teacher
“My students had so much fun making Kale Apple Salad! Ellena did such a wonderful job leading the lesson and keeping the students engaged from start to finish.”
–Bridge Street School 1st grade teacher