By Kim Lyle
The slow food movement is catching on fast, especially with some of our community’s youngest members.
The non-profit organization Slow Food Baton Rouge has created the city’s only farm-to-school program as well as a number of other programs centered on helping people to access and enjoy food that is good for them.
Their progressive program, Greauxing Healthy Baton Rouge (GHBR), has taken initiative in helping young people develop healthy food habits from an early age. Since fall of 2013 they have reached more than 150 students through partnerships with four public schools: The Dufroqc Shool, FLAIM Elementary, Ryan Elementary, and University Terrace Elementary.
We’ve all been there as kids. School is out, you’re hungry, and it’s all you can do to keep from eating your own fingers. When it comes down to it, students are much more likely to reach for that bag of Cheetos and push aside the baby carrots. GHBR is doing important work to make sure that these everyday decisions are better informed.
They aren’t trying to create the next generation of farmers. Instead, they aim to infuse these young minds with information that will help them appreciate where their food comes from, and understand the connection between healthy living and a longer life. This way the future’s teachers, artists, lawyers, designers, scientists, writers, and farmers will be more confident in buying the right foods and eating well.
So, how exactly do they make this happen?
It’s simple. They get kids out from behind their desks and involve them in hands-on activities that become immediately relevant to their lives outside the four walls of a classroom.
Students design their own gardens, come up with a planting schedule, align their harvesting with the seasons, meet and talk with chefs who use local produce, and finally share their experiences with family and friends in the community.
The positive effect of this program ripples outward exponentially. Possibly the greatest benefit is that the lessons learned easily meld into the traditional school subjects like science, math, and social studies. Imagine learning about photosynthesis not from a boring diagram in a book, but through witnessing the growth of a plant’s leaves from
And the kids love it.
“My favorite part is getting to eat some of the food that we grow. Also getting out of class to be outside,” said Tinh, a second grader at University Terrace.
“I liked planting all of the different vegetables and then seeing them come out of the ground,” said J’naddya, another second grader at University Terrace.
If you’re interested in helping the cause, there are two ways to do so. You can buy a ticket for their Dinner in the Field event on Sunday, April 19, a direct fundraiser for their farm to school program GHBR. The event uses locally sourced ingredients and highlights the creations of talented local chefs.
Their organization also leaves a lot of room for community involvement. So, if it’s time you have to give, visit their website (slowfoodbr.org) and fill out a volunteer application.