Take THAT! Pizza Party!

Take THAT! Pizza Party!

“The [elementary] teacher said that the students were supposed to have a pizza party that day, but she rescheduled because of the cooking lesson. When she told the students about postponing the pizza party, they didn’t even care. They were more excited about having the cooking lesson. It is crazy to me that 1st graders would rather cook with fruits and vegetables than eat pizza. It really surprised me, and I think it’s great. Farm to School is obviously making a difference in the lives of those children and helping them to enjoy cooking with and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.” Western Carolina University (WCU) student involved in Local Food and Farm to School Education Project.

I thought this quote worthy of a blog post. What the WCU student was referring to was the weekly cooking classes that take place at Cullowhee Valley School in Jackson County. There is also a weekly school gardening activity, as well as a weekly cafeteria taste test and it’s all part of the Local Food and Farm to School Education Project (LFFSEP, a collaboration of ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), WCU, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Jackson County Public Schools, and Mountain Projects). We are taking an “upstream” approach by integrating local food and Farm to School into the experiences and curricula of undergraduate and graduate education students, nutrition and dietetics students, and dietetic interns. The goal is that future teachers and health professionals are equipped to integrate local food and Farm to School into their lives and professional practice. Put more plainly, when these future teachers and health professionals graduate, we want them thinking (and doing!) local food and Farm to School!

One day, local food and Farm to School will be the default setting for all our educators and Child Nutrition Directors. We are lucky here in WNC that it is becoming the standard and hopefully a project like the LFFSEP is just the strategy to set the stage and sustain our efforts. In the meantime, we’ll be kicking pizza parties’ butts.

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