Morgan Maloney is the Farm Education Director at the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. She oversees Arcadia’s Farm & Nutrition Education Programs, a rich mosaic of Farm to School programs and a Farm Camp that serve about 2,700 schoolchildren in D.C. and Northern Virginia each year.
This month we asked her, “When was your Farm to School ‘aha’ moment?” Here’s her reply:
My Farm to School “aha” moment came pretty early in my time at Arcadia, although it was not my last! I was teaching the Taste Sensation Station to a group of 1st graders during one of our Farm Field Trips.
I launched into the lesson and received mixed emotions from the students when I told them that we were going to make a raw carrot and beet salad. Some groaned with dislike for one or both veggies, and others seemed willing to at least consider it. A few even said, “but do we actually have to eat it?!” That’s when I told them that they would be the ones making the salad. Some of the groaning turned to cheering while some students indicated that they would decide how they felt after the salad was all prepared—so I knew I had a good challenge on my hands! Using their trusty “claw hand” to hold their vegetable properly, each student got a chance to use the grater to shred a carrot and a beet. We combined the shredded ingredients, gave it a quick stir, and then it was time to taste.
One by one, they cautiously took their first bite of Carrot & Beet Salad…and one by one I saw beet juice smiles appear from ear to ear. The reviews were unanimous– beets and carrots are delicious! These kids continued to amaze me when they asked for seconds and fell just short of licking the bowl. That’s when I learned how important it was for kids to get hands-on with their food. When they grow it, harvest it, and prepare it, they’ll eat it!