The same day the Toddler 2s filled the kitchen with a sweet smell of zucchini muffins, two interviewers showed up in our office, pencils in hand, to inquire about Danielle’s new job. They were gathering story details for their class newspaper, “The Big Idea: 1st/2nd Class News.” In addition to writing for their class newspaper, they and their classmates have been busy generating questions to ask vendors at a farmers market. This was an assignment during last year’s nutrition week and it was so successful their teacher decided to do it again with their new questions. The idea was to give kids a chance to get closer to the source of our food. Among the questions they thought of were:
How hard is it to be a farmer?
How much land does a farmer need?
How early does a farmer wake up?
Do farmers take any days off from work?
While the 1st/2nd graders entered into our annual school-wide nutrition study by preparing to interview farmers, the 3rd/4th graders down the hall had a chance to see a handmade cookbook their teacher made in kindergarten. Using it as a starting point, they are collecting family recipes along with the stories that go with them. As part of the brainstorming process, they talked briefly about what family meals look like in each of their homes. This will be a topic to explore further in the coming days.
Throughout the Seed these next two weeks, food will be a focal point. Food groups, composting, and gardening will be among the topics covered in our classrooms. The nutrition study started several years ago when the lead teachers held a discussion about developmentally appropriate food practices. We started gathering information and thought we might create a small flyer to share with parents and interested families. It expanded into our seedfood website (http://seedfood.awakeningseedschool.org). Healthy food practices are so important to us that we’ve made our nutrition study an annual event.
What I love about this year’s study is that it’s incorporating writing and storytelling more than in past years. This makes sense, since meal times are potentially one of the best opportunities to share family conversations. In thinking about this, I’m reminded of a poem called “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/49622). Here are the beginning lines:
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.”
The Seed’s nutrition study is an opportunity to bring awareness to our community about the importance of healthy eating practices. It’s also a reminder to keep sacred the times around the “kitchen table” when we come together to share our food and stories.