FRESHFARM's food education program in partnership with DC Public Schools

FoodPrints is an education project of FRESHFARM that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools. Watch the FoodPrints video to see our program in action. 

Lessons in the Soil - by Kealy Rudersdorf

In the 4th grade, we focus on science out in the garden. What makes a healthy ecosystem? How does dead matter decompose? How does the sun make our food?  Why is it important not to pollute our environment? 

During a recent lesson on soils, we were answering two questions: 

What makes soil healthy and how does this affect us? 

What is soil made of? 

We broke up into groups. All the groups went to different stations. One of the stations was the worm bin, the students' favorite part of the garden! 

I started, "Four weeks ago, I cut an apple in two and placed it here. The apple is gone, but what is in its place?" 

The students replied with various answers, and I redirected them to the scientific answer: soil!

The students were instructed to answer in their journals: "What do worms eat in nature, for example, in a a forest?"

I looked over the answers, "Not McDonalds? Why not?"

"McDonalds isn't healthy for worms." 

"Oh. Is it healthy for you?" 

"Yeah, just not every day." 

"What makes you different from worms?" 

I waited. One second passed, then two, three... ten. His eyes widened, the ah-ha moment came. "Ohhhhh. We are the same." 

Now, as a 10 year old, this fourth grader may not be able to make his own food choices. In fact, he may eat McDonalds that weekend. But, what FoodPrints offers is opportunities to think, explore, and connect to nature. During that one moment, my student connected his health to nature (the worms!) and the health of soil. 

Later, after we had harvested from the garden and made Vietnamese summer rolls, a student exclaimed "this is amazing!!". That same student from before responded with "Yeah, man. And it's all healthy for you!"  

A FoodPrints success.