On March 17th, our district participated in a statewide launch of California Thursdays, a program promoted by the Center for Ecoliteracy. The idea is simple: districts sign on to serve a lunch every Thursday sourced only with California food.
To get ready for the big celebration, I worked with after school students for two months to create educational signage and decorations.
Strawberries were planned for the menu, so I made them the “harvest of the month” and created strawberry lessons. We examined strawberry plants, talked about “runners” or stolons, searched for plants in the garden with “strawberry facts,” whipped up strawberry smoothies and made little posters that later decorated the lunch area wall.
One day before the event, I taught two flower arranging classes after school to make the lunch table centerpieces. I found the plastic pots at a dollar store, and we made the entire arrangements with only plants and flowers found in the school garden. They turned out beautifully!
…and arranging them!
On the morning of our launch, the Garden Ambassadors came to school early to help me hang signs and posters.
At 11:00 our special guests arrived—the farmers and ranchers who provided the food for lunch, representatives from our caterer Jeremy’s on the Campus, Jan Stone from the Center for Ecoliteracy and partners from North County San Diego Health and Human Services. Our Garden Ambassadors greeted each guest, sat with him/her during the assembly and lunch, and provided garden tours.
Our lunch consisted of sliders made with bison meat from a local ranch, salad from Farmer Phil at Sage Mountain Farm, and bread from California Mountain Bakery. At the assembly right before lunch, junior high students showed a slideshow they created about California agriculture. Ken Childs from Star B Ranch, the local bison ranch, spoke to the kids about raising bison and set up a table of bison-related items to see and touch. Chef Jeremy, Farmer Phil, Jan Stone and Health and Human Services Deputy Director Jennifer Bransford-Koons also spoke about good, local food and healthy lunch!
Then we all ate lunch! A wonderful day, and an awesome concept—our district is proud to be a part of the state’s California Thursday effort! (And thank you to Susi Jones for making this whole event happen—her vision always inspires!)