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. 

Winter Vegetables - by Sarah Burke

Early childhood science standards include a focus on studying seasons and weather patterns through observations, and by collecting data to search for patterns. In FoodPrints, students study fruits and vegetables available in the garden and from local farms through the seasons. Together, these experiences help our youngest learners synthesize these sets of knowledge to more deeply understand the impact of seasonal changes on the natural world around them.

Observing different types of winter produce.

At Peabody, the first FoodPrints session following the winter holiday was a focus on winter vegetables. After visiting their school garden for observations, students looked at the Growing Healthy Schools  - Choose What’s in Season chart provided to us by OSSE’s Healthy Schools Act Initiatives.  It provides a visible illustration of the locally grown, seasonal fruit and vegetables available in the Washington area and has been used in the Peabody FoodPrints classroom throughout the year to support students’ learning.  

Questions we considered:
What do you notice about the different seasons? 
How did the school garden change during each of these seasons?
What do you notice about vegetables available in winter versus summer? 
Why aren’t they all available in every season? Why do different plants grow in different seasons? How can you explain the differences? 

Children noticed that the leafy greens that were left in their school garden, unprotected from the cold temperatures, were wilted and frozen. They also noticed that the green leafy vegetables were in the spring section of the chart but not in the winter section.  

What happens to greens in the winter?

As small groups of children compared the collection of winter vegetables in the FoodPrints classroom and weighed them on the kitchen scale, the conversation focused on not only the weight of each vegetable, but the differences in the coverings of the root vegetables and the thick skinned winter squash. 

Weighing and measuring our winter bounty.

Apples + Beets + Carrots = ABC Salad

Mashing potatoes and squash!

Mashing potatoes and squash!

As the children prepared ABC Salad and Butternut Squash-Potato Mash,  they noticed the beautiful colors that winter vegetables have and learned about the health benefits of eating red and orange vegetables. We also read a wonderful book called This Year's Garden that follows the evolution of a garden throughout the course of the seasons.