What Kids Eat
Taste in food is learned at home. Kids eat what they like. Changing food offerings at school is only one part of the issue because you can’t make them eat stuff they’re not used to.
The Edible Schoolyard Project was founded in Berkeley, California at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in 1998. Its mission:
“…to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a sustainable, delicious, and free lunch for every student. Integrating this curriculum into schools can transform the health and values of every child in America.” (8)
The theory to getting kids to eat what’s good for them is concisely put by Liza Siegler, its Director of Partnerships and Engagement:
“Schools that incorporate an integrated approach to edible education—combining local, seasonal food procurement strategies with hands-on lessons taught in the classroom, kitchen, and garden—are far more likely to sustain healthy school meal initiatives.” (9)
This was the inspiration behind TCK. Apparently this approach has been proven to work; a similar program has been wildly successful in Japan.
Judi Shils, Executive Director of Turning Green, explains:
“Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins. Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that, fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”
Indeed, a holistic approach that includes food education will help children to understand what they’re eating and why it’s important. One can expect they’ll feel the difference after making better food choices. Innovators like TCK are making a difference in the well-being of our children and hopefully creating a lifelong interest in healthy eating.