Portraits in School Lunch

Our school district participates in California Thursday, an initiative in which we try to source all of the ingredients in our school lunches on Thursday from California.  Most of our food is sourced from California all week anyway, but on Thursday we really focus on it.  One tool we have recently acquired with our California Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant is a very large, write on/wipe off map that we hung in our cafeteria behind our salad bar.  We can point out to students exactly where parts of their lunch is sourced.

On Food Day, Chef Donald of Jeremy’s on the Campus planned a particularly beautiful California Thursday lunch as part of a state-wide day of collective action.

-Chef Donald’s Garden salad: romaine [california), grape tomatoes (California), organic tri colored juicing carrots (California)

-California fruit salad

-Melons from California
-Chef’s whim pasta salad made with whole wheat penne and donated produce from Down the Road farm in Julian and a balsamic dressing
Chef’s California Stir fry with local organic free range chicken, (Chula Vista) and assorted squashes and produce from California with a California citrus Ponzu

Look at this beautiful food and these happy faces!

Another Delicious Day: Food Day 2018

This is a long one, but very tasty…..read on!

On October 25th, Julian Elementary and Junior High celebrated their 6th annual Food Day with a full day of fun, experiential workshops about cooking, nutrition, backyard gardening and agriculture.  Our theme was “California Grown.” Garden Ambassadors helped me decorate the school early in the morning while our food-themed soundtrack blared.

Nine presenters delivered the following 30-minute lessons at the elementary school:

Eat the Rainbow: Getting kids active with physical education activities, the UCSD School Wellness team taught kids how fruits and veggies of all colors help our bodies.

The workshop ended with a persimmon taste test!

A Seed is a Backpack: Our yearlong FoodCorps service member, Mr. Cam taught kids the parts of the seed and then let them examine various seeds with microscopes and magnifying glasses.

Bees, Flowers and Veggies in Our Connected World:  For the sixth year Camp Stevens has been an important part of our Food Day. This year they taught the kids to make “bee hotels”—a collection of nesting tubes for native bees.

Cooking with Chef Joey and Chef Greg:  Back by popular demand from the Healthy Adventures Foundation, our two chefs worked with the kids to make ambrosia salad and fruit roll-ups.

Growing New Food from Old:  Another longstanding partner with Food Day, the Resource Conservation District instructed students how to make their own pots out of newspaper, fill them with soil and plant potato pieces!

Composting with Worms: A new presenter at Food Day and a wonderful new addition to our event, the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation spent the day teaching students all about vermicomposting, including a chance for the kids to dig through castings to find the red wrigglers.

My Cheeseburger Came from a Farm:  Well-known and loved by generations of Julian students, retired teacher Kathy Cauzza and team brought an amazing lesson on farming and ranching, an educational program of the Cow Belles.

Apple Growers of Julian:  Teak and Kaitlan Nichols, with Harvey Arntson, are six-year presenters with the Julian Apple Growers Association.  Every year students learn about Julian’s apple heritage while pressing their own apple juice.

Food, Fiction, Facts and Fun!:  We were pleased to have the Julian Library join us this year, making crafts with students, reading stories and sharing fun food facts!

At the Junior High, another set of six classes was offered to students:

Bounty Bags–Keeping in Sustainable:  Artist Teal Young walked students through the steps of turning an old t-shirt into a reusable shopping bag as she educated them about the perils of plastic bags and wildlife.

California Conifers–Forest Food:  Representing the Volcan Mountain Foundation, Janice Smith and Kat Beck taught students about conifer wildcrafting in the backcountry, offering samples of Douglas Fir shortbread cookies and toasted pine nuts.

We Grow it ALL in California!:  High school agriculture teacher Mr. Martineau brought over his FFA students to discuss the primary crops of various California counties, offering food samples from each region and displaying handmade visual aids.

Rethink you Drink: Back for a second year, Daniel Barajas of Health and Human Services challenged students to think about their sugar intake and the various health effects.

How does it grow? Food Films:  These four to six minute films that focus on different crops are beautiful, interesting and memorable. Once again, Mr. Pierce showed the films and facilitated discussion.  For a sample of these wonderful short films, click here.

GUTS!  Your Second Brain:  A new presenter, Ms. Fiendisen of Smart Care educated students on the importance of healthy gut flora, ending her presentation with tastes of sauerkraut and kombucha.

In addition to the workshops, students at the junior high were treated to plates of homemade salsas, whipped up by the Pathways weekly parenting group.  At the end of the day all students also got a chance to sample many different foods from Julian and around the world in a large tasting rotation.

On both campuses, all presenters, staff and volunteers enjoyed a lunch provided by our amazing partner, Soups and Such, and delectable cookies by California Mountain Bakery. Chef Donald of Jeremy’s on the Campus also brought a tasty, beautiful California Thursday lunch for the children.

Finally, the fifth grade garden ambassadors went on a fieldtrip to Down the Road farms to finish the day, learning all about organic gardening from Farmer Josh and Farmer Bri. Here we are standing in front of the oldest apple tree in Julian!

Clearly, it was a full and wonderful day, packed with fun and learning.  Thank you to the parent and community volunteers who helped to make it happen!  Also thanks to Dave Palmer of Dunk Tank Marketing and the Farm to School Collective for many of the photos above!

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.

 

 

 

 

“Soda is the monster we need to mash!”

As part of our Food Day program, Sun Dog Art Studios led an anti-soda art project at the junior high.  Each student made a “monster” out of a soda can in thirty minutes using construction paper, puffy paint, scissors, straws and pipe cleaners.  Teal and Tomy, the founders and art teachers of Sun Dog, were a delight to work with, and I highly recommend them to any school or organization in San Diego County.

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Sun Dog made these samples with information on soda consumption which they left with us to incorporate into our displays.

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Librarian Colleen allowed us to hang half of the collection behind the checkout counter at the Julian Library the next day.  The collection will stay up through the end of November.

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I hung the other half at the Wolf Den, the junior high multipurpose room.

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Stay tuned for more wonderful reports from Food Day 2015…..

 

The Great Julian Apple Crunch

Video

Today Julian Elementary and Junior High celebrated National Food Day with 15 workshops on nutrition, cooking, backyard gardening and agriculture.  It was amazing—look for upcoming posts with photos and stories.

For now, let me share a video with you.  Every year people across the country celebrate good, fresh food with an Apple Crunch event.  We did one this year, thanks to Ken and Linda Limon who visited a neighboring orchard whose owners allowed them to harvest for free, picked 400 apples, hand sorted them, packed them in flats of 50 and delivered them to cold storage in the school kitchen.  We washed and bagged them by class size.  Students wore their red No Excuses shirts to school, Garden Ambassadors held up big leaves, and our principal got on the roof to film the event.  The weather was sketchy today but it held just long enough…..five minutes later, downpour!  Simply amazing.

Thank you Linda and Ken—you made this happen!

 

 

A delicious result of Food Day: DDR

On the morning of National Food Day, I had prepared a soundtrack to blare from big speakers to greet the kids and the school busses. Disney, reggae, country western, Elvis—a variety of high energy songs whose lyrics were somehow linked to food. I enjoyed the loud music so much that I took the sound system out to the playground for the 9:50 recess to play it again.   A couple little first grade girls came over and started dancing with me. Truth: I can’t resist a chance to show off a few moves.  So I joined in. Dozens of kids came over and before we knew it we had a full-blown dance party on the playground. A little boy from my garden class ran to me to grab my hands, and we giggled and danced.  As I spun him around and around, he was in stiches at seeing an adult dance so unabashedly and with so little talent, and for 15 minutes we were lost in the frenzied joy of it all.

I asked the administration if we can do it again, so now every Thursday….

is Dance Dance Recess!

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Food Day Nibbles, part 2

To celebrate National Food Day at the end of October, our elementary and junior high schools presented 14 workshops about agriculture, nutrition and cooking to which students rotated all day. Here’s a taste of all of the hands-on learning that happened.

Resource Conservation District of San Diego joined us for the first time to teach kids to make pots out of newspaper and plant herb seeds for windowsill gardens.

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Julian schools alumna Jill talked about growing up in Julian, going to UC Santa Cruz and starting her own farm, Mountain Chickadee Farm .

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Chef Greg from Healthy Adventures Foundation taught another wonderful cooking class.

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Camp Stevens headed up a workshop on making fresh smoothies.  Very hands on with the kid-safe knives!

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Mr. Martineau led a fun and educational workshop on the use of animal byproducts in everyday products, having students guess ingredients.  Also included: how many bug parts in different foods—perfect for junior high!

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UC Regent’s Farm Smart program once again joined us and presented another excellent hands-on workshop on corn.

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Chef Jeremy from Jeremy’s on the Hill (and Jeremy’s on the Campus, our school lunch program) led a workshop at the junior high, talking about his restaurant and getting feedback from kids about school lunch

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Mrs. Croman taught a special music class with food songs!

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Kids pressed their own apple juice from local fruit, with help from the Julian Apple Growers Association.

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The amazing Mrs. Cantor taught the kids to make sweet and savory crepes.  Later in the day volunteers delivered extras to all of the volunteers and staff.  Final count:  280 dinner plate sized crepes.

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Local family and farm Cook Pigs joined us, talking about their sustainable operation and letting kids interact with their dog and piglet Chewbaca.

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Juicing seminars, with the bicycle blender out for a spin! Image 14 Image 8 Image 11

All students returned to their classrooms to write about the day in their garden journals.

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Not pictured:  Mr. Pierce showed and discussed food films from the Nourish series, Mr. Duffy taught a food safety class as he and Mr. Lay made chicken-veggies kebabs on the garden’s BBQ, and Miss Carmen led a class on “eating real.”

We also extended Food Day into our after-school program with more cooking classes and a fieldtrip to a local restaurant.  I played a memory game with kitchen utensils and followed with a taste test of guavas, papayas, dates, fresh figs, etc.

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If you were involved in any way, thank you!!!  Will you come again next year? 🙂