Many parents, educators, and even students would say they’re fed up with the lack of nutritious food and food education in our public school system. Along with many other organizations in the Lower Mainland the Edible Garden Project (EGP) is working to turn that around. We’re bringing students from kindergarten to grade 7 out of the classroom and into the garden to learn the cycles of food production from seed to soil. Our students grow food, harvest it, prepare it, and enjoy it – they’re “Fed Up” and into previously out of reach world of nutritious fresh food.
Our Students Love Kale
It may seem crazy, but it is true: our students love kale. Our students are engaged and getting their hands dirty in every step of the process. They choose the vegetables we grow, they sow the seeds, maintain the plots (with the help of amazing volunteers) and pick the fruits of their labour. Their curiosity is sparked through this process and they are excited and willing to try foods they may have once turned their noses up at. Kale is a perfect example; it has a reputation almost as bad as brussel sprouts, but bake it into a “chip” and you’ve got a gourmet healthy snack that disappears in an instant! We’re changing the relationship that students have with their food, and it makes a difference.
Many of the students that we work with don’t have the opportunity to cook with their families’ at home, rely on take out and fast food, and are totally disconnected to where their food comes from. They’re eager and excited to learn and soak in the experiences we offer in Fed Up, and they’re taking that enthusiasm and recipes home.
Expanding Fed Up to Childcare Centres
Last week we received the exciting news that our Fed Up program was awarded funding for 2012 from the United Way Building Stronger Community Food Security Grant. The grant will help us expand the Fed Up program in 2012 to four of the North Shore Neighbourhood House childcare centres. Over 50% of the children attending these childcare centres are from low income families, and they range from ages 0-12 years old. Fed Up will help these children achieve better health outcomes and build strong healthy habits over the long term.
Friends of Fed Up – How You Can Get Involved
One of the cornerstones to all the work that the EGP does is community involvement, and Fed Up is no exception. We would not be able to offer this high quality of programming if we did not have the community contributing their expertise and passions. There are many different ways you can contribute to Fed Up, and we’re happy to chat with you about what works best for you. You could: share your favourite healthy recipe, help students grow food, share your food preparation/cooking skills with students, assist us in building the new childcare garden plots, donate money for supplies or staff time, and more.
Fed Up kicks off in February for the 2012 season, and we would love to have you involved! Here is some more information on volunteering with the EGP, and a description how you can get involved in Fed Up:
Inspire school children to explore in the garden, learn how to grow fresh food, and make nutritious snacks to share with their family. The Edible Garden Project’s “Fed Up” program delivers interactive educational opportunities for children in elementary school and childcare centres. Our elementary and childcare programs run on different schedules. Friends of Fed Up volunteers will receive training, enjoy a fun and supportive environment, and work on small teams with students and educators. We’re seeking volunteers available on the first Friday of every month from February to June 2012 for Fed Up in elementary schools. The schedule for childcare centres will begin in the Spring as we build new garden plots. Contact Emily if you are interested in joining the team – firstname.lastname@example.org