The "Food is Elementary" program should be part of a child's weekly "specials" in the Trumansburg Elementary school just like art, music or P.E., in my opinion. It is a curriculum that includes a massive amount of integrated education about plants, chemistry, science, geography, culture, cultural tolerance, math, sensory awareness, and physical coordination. That is not even a complete list. We live in a rural community surrounded by farms and yet, many of the children by 3rd and 4th grade have a narrow interest in food and a subpar knowledge of where it comes from and how to cook and enjoy it. Yet, this is an activity they will do until the end of their lives.
Just in volunteering one day, I received a text from a thankful mother saying that her daughter "LOVED" her "food education" class that day. I witnessed this child earlier in the day try a spicy sauce that was entirely new to her and out of her comfort zone. I saw her participating and not knowing the answer to one question, but having a correct hunch on another. I saw many children engaged and excited and others quite challenged by the new material which is really fundamental food information. As we know, children don't always share with their parents every detail of their school days, but this class had clearly made the nightly news at home.
Antonia was able to wrap in information about what sea surrounds North Africa (no child in 4 classes knew that the answer was Mediterranean without big hints) and to open children's minds to people that are different than themselves with anecdotes about different dining customs. She was able to transport them in a small way to a different geographical location with the flavors and smells of exotic spices.
Whether you teach technical writing (writing directions to a recipe), math fractions (recipe measurements), world geography (with maps), science (climate/plant science) or history (of the American South) the elementary lessons could be tied into the "Food is Elementary" class in a very tangible way that is memorable and that enhances their studies and understanding of the subject at hand.
I hope to see this program expand in the years to come. From the garden to the plate, it will bring good health to our children and grow their minds simultaneously.
Dewi Rainey (Mom of a 5-year old in Kindergarden)