Stuffed and Happy: Food Day 2015

Before the really big Food Day is upon us, I’d like to share some glimpses of Food Day 2015 at Julian Elementary and Julian Junior High.  It was a minimum day, and we had 15 workshops between the two campuses.  Students went to 5-6 of them for thirty minutes each.

In the weeks before the event, I began making this “eat a rainbow” collage with after school students, using photos from seed catalogues:

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It turned out really cool:

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It was too wet and windy to hang it in front of the school as planned (along with two huge banners that read “Eat a Rainbow Every Day!”) so it became a nice backdrop for a storybook and craft session on the importance of eating foods of all different colors for a healthy diet.

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The UC Farm Smart joined us for the third year running, and as usual, they delivered a visual, hands-on, super engaging lesson.  This year’s topic: carrots.

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Students used orange dots to conduct a poll after a taste test: fresh carrots, canned carrots or no carrots at all.

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Another wildly popular instructor, Chef Greg from Healthy Adventures Foundation taught kids how to make vegetarian sushi.

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A superteam of teachers, present and former (Lark, Nancy, Kathy, Shirley) presented lessons on “eating a rainbow.”  A mini-lesson on the health benefits of each color was followed by fruit and veggie bingo and fruit kabobs—kids that ate all the colors left with a little rainbow sticker on their shirts.

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Food Day would not be Food Day without Teak and Harvey representing for the Julian Apple Growers with apple pressing for juice and apple slice taste tests.

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The amazing folks from Camp Stevens led a composting workshop, demonstrating their teaching flexibility by switching from the garden to the cafeteria when it started to pour, hauling in mounds of unsifted compost and wheelbarrows.

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Mrs. Croman, our music teacher, leading “food songs.”

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Not pictured: Ann from the Resource Conservation District teaching a lesson about monarch butterflies and the importance of protecting pollinators.

Meanwhile down at the junior high:

From the mind of our ag specialist, Mr. Martineau:  Students walk through eight stations, tracing all of the parts of a pizza to their origins and making little pizzas as they go.  Each station had information, questions and a short video about the bread, sausage, tomato sauce, etc.

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Presenting the Duffy Cooking Show!  How cool is it that kids were making homemade granola bars with their principal and superintendent?

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Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Tellez pulled off an amazing workshop on cheese: a history of cheese, cheesemaking, cheese tasting/rating and looking at yogurt under the microscope.

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Every student did an art project with Sun Dog Studios.  See last post.

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Students had a chance to talk to Joel and Chef Jeremy, who plan and cook their school lunch.  Joel and Jeremy talked to the kids about the mechanics and nutrition involved in planning a NSLP-approved lunch, and students provided them with feedback about the menu.

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Not pictured:  Students watched 5 short videos from the very cool video series How does it grow?

All that, and we fit in an apple crunch on both campuses!  Later that day, afterschool students toured Mom’s Pies and each made an apple dumpling….

Thanks to all who contributed to this truly awesome day of learning!  See you next year.

Now for a nap.

 

 

 

 

What I did on my summer vacation

I’m back, with stories to tell.

In fact, one of my first stories is one I’ve been keeping close since May, and now I can finally let it out to all of you good readers.  IT IS SO EXCITING I WILL HAVE TO REFRAIN FROM WRITING THE ENTIRE POST IN ALL CAPS, but I will try.

But first….what I did on my summer vacation, garden-wise.

In July the school garden committee of Master Gardeners was treated to a tour of the garden at Paul Ecke Elementary in Encinitas, with Mr. Hank as tour guide.

“School as garden”—an idea that the whole campus is a garden with different sites where all subjects can be taught.  IMG_0087

Their outdoor “cooking lab” has an underground drain which waters the baby citrus tree to the left.

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Water plants, not friends—apparently a school garden universal.

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A neat application of the painted rock concept.

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I like seeing other garden educator’s tricks of the trade.  Here Mr. Hank has made a device in which he can arrange the tools needed that day and kids can quickly choose from that limited supply instead of sorting through the shed.

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A rain chain adds a grace note to this rainwater cistern.

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Pallets set on their sides create the stage for a lesson on vertical gardens.

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In the boxes below, veggies are planted by color to emphasize the principle above.

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School as garden—here citrus plants, herbs and ornamentals enhance another building’s facade across campus.

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Even little flower gardens enliven a school campus as they create habitat.

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The same day I visited the ambitious 1-acre farm project on the campus of Ocean Knoll in Encinitas, a vision steered by two women/parents who lead the non-profit organization Healthy Day Partners.  They are building raised beds, compost bins, and tool sheds with a view to supplying the salad bars in the district’s nine elementary schools.  As a food justice project, fruit trees are being planted along the street side of the property, purposely planted to hang over the fence so that fruit is available to any neighbor passing by.

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As part of their school’s international focus, the upper elementary students built this greenhouse with “eco-bricks”—discarded plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash.  Schools in Latin America have been built with this simple technology, and the Encinitas kids worked through the organization Hug it Forward to help fundraise for one such project in Guatemela, later skyping with the Central American students about their shared experiences.

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A beautiful multi-purpose stage for activities from yoga to outdoor meals stretches along one side of the garden.  Stumps arranged around the platform create a perfect performance area as well.

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Good reminder that rural, suburban, urban—we all got our critters to exclude.

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This is a team, and a district, with a lot of vision, and I look forward to following–and celebrating–their progress!

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