If you grow it, Grade 3 students will eat – and eat well, for that matter
That’s the lesson green-thumbed Grade 4 students at Ecole Franco-Superior learned over the past several months, from the garden they planted outside their Thunder Bay school to the meal they prepared Thursday and served to their fellow students.
The Grade 3s dined on poutine made from homegrown potatoes, vegetable soup, potato scones and green-tomato salsa. Then, to finish off the delectable meal, they nibbled on zucchini-chocolate brownies and carrot cake smothered in cream cheese icing.
Genevieve, who helped cook up and serve the meal, said the entire experience was a blast.
The nine-year-old loved everything about it, she said.
“I liked planting them and watching them grow for a month and seeing them grow,” she said. “I think it was a cool experience and it would be good to learn if you wanted to grow your own garden when you’re older, to know how it works.”
Cooking it up was equally as entertaining.
“I thought it was lots of fun to decide what we were going to cook. There were so many ideas,” said classmate Lexi.
Rachel Maguiness is a parent volunteer at the French-language school, and said they’re hoping to make it a schoolyard tradition.
She said the program was indoctrinated into the curriculum, as students learned about healthy eating. It was fun watching them get so excited about vegetables, food many children often turn their noses up at.
“They didn’t need a lot of prodding, they already were (excited),” she said.
The gardens themselves were built by parents and students, who came in on the weekend on their own time.
Then they had a taste test.
“They got to eat and taste and juice all these different vegetables and decide this is what they love, this is what they can actually grow here. From that they looked at the life cycles of the plant, the different parts of the plant, what grow in our climate,” Maguiness said.
Students charted out the gardens, thought about menus and what they wanted to cook.
“A lot of what they chose are vegetables they would be able to harvest this time of year when they were actually back at school.”
Over the summer families volunteered on a weekly basis to ensure the budding plants had enough water and sunlight.
The end result was worth the effort, Maguiness said.
“They love scrubbing vegetables, getting dirt of carrots and potatoes. They love when they’re out there planting,” she said, noting students also looked at different soil types and compost as well during their agricultural experiment.
“It’s giving them a grasp of what actually goes into our food.”
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