It's not often that my day job and online life mix, but today at a pro-d event in Chilliwack I got to meet some ladies with BC Agriculture in the Classroom.
Agriculture in the Classroom is a non profit organization that works hard to bring BC's agriculture to students in BC through various school programs. One that I've seen (and Kevin has participated in) is their fruit and veggie program. Every other week a bunch of fresh fruit or veggies are brought to the school-enough for each classroom so that kids could sample fresh, local produce.
Fresh produce snacks in the classroom are a great way to expose kids to fresh foods that they may not have seen before or otherwise eat. I've seen kids wolf down oranges and apples, tentatively try a cherry tomato, or even grab them by the handful. When kids see their friends eating (and enjoying!) fresh local produce, they are far more likely to try some themselves. Some quotes from six year olds:
"I like ketchup and salsa, but isn't it weird that I just don't like tomatoes?"
"They explode in your mouth! I love them! I could eat them all day!"
"I tried one. I didn't like it, but I tried one."
"They are so juicy and sweet, they are better than candy!"
Having the fresh produce provides so much avenue for discussion. Kids can learn from their teachers or other staff where the fruit comes from, what it's used for, and more. Won't eat a tomato? Let them know that ketchup, salsa, and pizza sauce have tomatoes in them. Even if they don't like the item, most will at least try it and who knows? If they've tried it once, they may try it again.
Besides just supplying kids with fresh snacks, BC Agriculture in the Classroom also has a great Spuds in Tubs program. Schools apply to the program and are given a kit to grow their own potatoes. The kids tend the potatoes and get to see them grow until harvest time, when they get to eat the end result. Who says French fries are the only way to get your kids to eat a potato? when they've grown it themselves, I'll bet they will be more interested.
Want to get involved or find out more?
@BC_agintheclass on Twitter
Like them on Facebook
Check out their website
This year at school, I am teaching some kids about nutrition and food. In honour of the work BC Agriculture in the classroom does, I have a giveaway of the book Alfalfabet along with a bunch of goodies that I will personally select for you and send as your own little prize pack! How is that for fun?!
Who can enter: Canadian Residents with a Canadian Postal address
How to enter: Leave me a comment below
Get an extra entry by tweeting (make sure to come back and let me know): RT Enter to win a copy of Alfalfabet prize pack from @scatteredmom! http://www.chasingtomatoes.ca/2013/04/food-revolution-friday-bc-agriculture.html #bcagbook
Contest closes: September 18, 2013
The proof really is in the kids. When a basket of cherry tomatoes was in our room the other day, one little girl counted hers carefully and said,
"One for grandma, one for my sister, one for..." Then she popped it in her mouth and grinned. "Oops. Too late. Can I have some more?"
PS.. I was not sponsored, paid, or compensated for this post in any way. When I met the ladies of Agriculture in the Classroom and asked how I would get a book to purchase to give away, they very kindly gifted me one. All opinions here are my own. I wasn't even asked to write this post. I am doing so because I'm so excited about their program!