Drink a rainbow

An effective phrase for teaching nutrition to children is “eat a rainbow!”  The simple idea is that eating fruits and veggies of all different colors builds a healthy diet.  We made this a theme on Food Day 2015, and I want to keep building upon it.

Sage Garden has provided us with their notebook of recipes which includes a different color smoothie for each grade.  I pulled all of the different colors and am doing “Drink a rainbow!” workshops for my after school students.

I began by setting up the Sage Garden cooking cart with all of the equipment and ingredients laid out and the recipe written on the whiteboard.

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Then I gave each pair of students a stack of laminated fruit and vegetable cards produced by the California Department of Education.  The students sorted the fruits and veggies into two piles:  orange/yellow and other.  We talked about all the orange and yellow examples we found.

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Students came up one by one for the various jobs:  juicing the oranges, peeling the bananas, pressing the limes, adding the strawberries, measuring out the yogurt.

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The next week we did purple smoothies, and this week we will blend up red ones.  As you can imagine, it’s a very popular class!

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68 grants nationwide—and we got one!

USDA Awards First Grants to Increase Local Foods in Eligible Schools:  68 Projects Support Nearly 2 Million Students

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers. 

“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Merrigan said. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.” 

The first-ever USDA Farm to School grants will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, distributors. Grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes. 

We heard last Friday that our district received one of these coveted grants in what we’re told was a very competitive grant cycle. (Thank you Susi!)  This means, among other things, that I will be the Farm to School Grant Coordinator for the next year, starting December 1st.  And you can be sure I’ll be sharing all that I learn here (and there, and everywhere).  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:  it’s very exciting to get a cutting edge federal grant in your little country school district.