Growing Minds…and Vegetables

It’s the end of the school year, which, to the Family Nutrition Program, means one main thing: garden harvests! We were invited to several of the garden harvest events at the schools, where the children pick the vegetables that they grew all semester and taste their smoothie samples that the volunteer chefs made. The smoothies were made with spinach, kale, honey, yogurt, apple juice, and banana. The green-colored smoothie didn’t look all that appealing to the third graders, but thanks to their interaction in the garden all semester, they not only were willing to try it, but they asked for seconds (and at times, thirds)! They also got to sample jicama and sugar-snap peas, which, to the majority of the students, they had never had before, but were eager to try them anyway. By the way they asked for more, it was clear to see they enjoyed them. There were also cherry tomatoes and cucumbers for them to munch on as well as they drank their smoothies. They were familiar with these because they had been growing these in their garden all semester and didn’t think twice about eating them, but we had to remind the earlier classes to save some vegetables for the later classes! The students were certainly open-minded about exposing themselves to new vegetables and eating ones they are acquainted with, and the garden lessons were a huge contributor to this. A huge thanks to the Pasco Master Gardeners for working with the kids to complement our nutrition lessons!
S. Bresin

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