The 2012 Classroom Gardening Project Lesson 4
View our full report from our Fourth class visit! ClassroomJournalLesson 4.pdf
The concept is very simple. The students have been growing their windowsill gardens for the past three months.
With the vegetables they have been caring for – they will make a healthy meal and then share it together as a class. The Classroom Gardening Project has been working up to this class visit for the past three and a half months.
When the chef teams arrive for the fourth and final class visit, the excitement level is higher than ever – for the students and for the chefs! Right away everyone begins working away so we can turn the classroom in to a restaurant for the day. Stations are assembled, instructions and safety rules are given, prep lists are made and everyone gets right to work.
The students begin by harvesting their class gardens. While picking their own lettuce, beans and peas they also prepare the vegetables the chefs have brought in to make sure there is enough food for everyone. Asparagus is snapped, peas are shelled, beans are trimmed and carrots are peeled.
Next the students have to remember the math lesson they learned during our third class visit and make their own salad dressing.
The class can pick from the Growing Chefs! Pantry to make the dressing to their own tastes. White balsamic instead of cider vinegar, maple syrup instead of honey and only a pinch of mustard and the class has made their own dressing recipe.
Finally the students gather around to help measure the ingredients and then watch the chefs prepare a stir-fry sauce. Once their vegetables are cooked, the students help to set the classroom for their meal.
When the students sit down to enjoy their meal together, they discuss what it is like to eat a meal made from vegetables they planted, cared for, picked and prepared themselves. Many agree that vegetables never tasted so good. Helping the students to understand where their food comes from and to understand the journey it takes from seed to plate helps to encourage them to be more open to trying vegetables. Some taste the different vegetables for the first time; many say they actually ENJOY the vegetables for the first time.
The students are congratulated for their hard work and teamwork. They are thanked for giving all of the vegetables a try and encouraged to continue exploring new foods at home. “Keep cooking and having food with food!” the chefs say as they pack up their things. The students are presented with graduation certificates officially designating them as "Growing Chefs!" - courtesy of the Classroom Sponsors of course! Many of the classes have prepared thank you cards for the chefs. The students say good bye to the chefs and thank them for volunteering their time and helping them to grow and prepare their own healthy foods right in the classroom.
It is a very special experience to get a private cooking lesson from a professional chef. The children are very appreciative of the time they have shared with the chef volunteers. The entire experience has been very special experience for the chefs as well - to be able to work with a group of children and inspire them to get excited about food, to appreciate food and learn where it comes from.
I want to end by giving a huge thanks to all of the class sponsors for giving our chefs the opportunity to get involved with The Classroom Gardening Project and I want to thank the chefs for sharing their talents and passion for cooking with the kids.
But most of all I want to thank the children for making this project so much fun for everyone involved!
We will see you soon – Happy cooking everyone!