July 22, 2024

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Casita Center’s kitchen lab growing healthy children

3 min read
Casita Center’s kitchen lab growing healthy children

“Eat your veggies!” How quite a few periods have we listened to that phrase echoed at the meal desk or by instructors at a preschool lunch desk?

Whilst quite a few young children are adventurous eaters, quite a few shun veggies with a retort of “Yuk, I do not like that!” My individual son, now 37 many years aged, regarded french fries a vegetable when he was a kid, but now cooks a multitude of nearby greens on the grill or in stir-fry dishes.

When I attended the State College of New York University of Agriculture to analyze horticulture, I became interested in introducing children to agriculture and joined forces with other educators to operate on the Kids Expanding Food items Challenge.

Casita Center teacher Samantha Hastings assists her Kitchen Lab students in choosing greens from a Tower Garden for a lunch salad at the Vista school.
Casita Centre teacher Samantha Hastings helps her Kitchen Lab college students in selecting greens from a Tower Garden for a lunch salad at the Vista college. Photo by Jenny Chien

Just after attending the college (at the late age of 50), I grew to become the director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Learn Gardener Program in Cooperstown, New York, and along with other extension agents, worked on 20 university and community gardens throughout New York state.

Our aim was to instruct youngsters how to increase meals and build a garden-dependent curriculum for elementary schools. The university back garden curriculum is nonetheless obtainable on-line at gardening.cals.cornell.edu/lessons.

NORTH COUNTY Educational facilities Mature GARDENS

I point out my history simply because now that I are living in Southern California, I have created it just one of my specialist plans to request other educators who are functioning on the same form of tasks in San Diego.

Lately, I revisited the Casita Centre magnet university in Vista and experienced the pleasure of touring the Kitchen Lab classroom with Principal Jenny Chien and Spanish trainer Samantha Hastings. The college was supplied a grant by the Sage Backyard Task of Encinitas and has made great use of the nutritional science lab provided in the grant.

The large Kitchen area Lab classroom is equipped with a movable demonstration desk and every single cooking offer you would find in a huge professional kitchen area. The Kitchen Lab tends to make use of all the greens and herbs that are grown outdoors in the university back garden. (See column Feb. 4, 2022).

SAGE Backyard Task

According to Karen Saake, who has worked with the employees at the Sage Back garden Challenge to create more than 60 gardens citywide,  “We have found that children are extra probably to test new greens when they grow the veggies on their own. We have tried using to introduce new greens in the lunch line, but youngsters are not as probably to try out them.”

Far more data about the Sage Garden Venture grants can be found at sagegardenproject.org.


The students in Samantha Hastings’ Spanish course at Casita Middle have built exceptional use  of all the equipment in the Kitchen Lab, and on the working day of my go to the menu integrated “International Salads with Dressings.”

Samantha mentioned, “We have the Mediterranean, which has a lot of mint and a selection of peppers Jamaican, which is built from orange juice and spices and Thai, which has Asian spices, ginger and garlic.” All the salad greens and veggies ended up picked from the school backyard that working day.

3rd-grader Anthony informed me, “We manufactured three kinds of salad dressing for our salad. I didn’t like the first one, but when I blended them all collectively, they actually tasted good!”

In accordance to Chien, the principal, “Conducting the classes in Spanish helps make the language occur alive. Our instructor translates all the recipes into Spanish, and youngsters can just take the recipes house to test with their mom and dad.”

Backyard IN Just about every Faculty

Quite a few educators, Master Gardeners and foundations these kinds of as the Sage Backyard garden Undertaking have produced it probable for young young children to produce healthier meals and take in healthy foods that, certainly, motivate them to Try to eat THEIR Greens!

If your child’s faculty has an appealing gardening venture heading on, remember to speak to me at [email protected]. And maintain on gardening!

Jano Nightingale is a horticulturist and Learn Gardener and teaches gardening lessons in North County. Speak to the Carlsbad Senior Heart at (760) 602-4650 for facts on her Pine Street Senior Yard project. Jano can be arrived at at [email protected]

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