FoodPrints Enters its 10th Year!
Bringing students hands-on experiences with growing food; developing skills and confidence as young cooks; and deepening learning of nutrition, science, math and more
By Barbara Percival, master gardener and longtime volunteer with FoodPrints at Watkins Elementary School
Now in its 10th year, FoodPrints continues to bring positive, hands-on gardening and cooking experiences to DC public elementary school students.
reflections at the 10-year mark
To reflect on the difference FoodPrints makes, I'd like to share my observations from working with the program since its beginning at Watkins Elementary School:
In the school garden, students have hands-on experiences with nature and growing food and opportunities for open-ended exploration that is increasingly less available inside classrooms driven by test results. Children have a natural curiosity that is unleashed in the garden, as they plant, water, weed, and harvest. At the same time, they learn about how vegetables grow, to observe, to cooperate, to be self-sufficient, and to be responsible.
In the kitchen-classroom, students prepare the majority of each recipe themselves, which helps them develop confidence as cooks and pride in their accomplishments. They learn how to prepare vegetables, measure ingredients, use kitchen tools, scale recipes and use appropriate table manners. By fifth grade, classes are responsible for almost all aspects of preparing recipes, with minimal assistance from adults.
Even as students participate in substantive curriculum-based lessons that enhance and deepen their learning, they gain intangibles -- how to work as a team; how to respect the environment; and how to carefully follow directions.
Students, parents, teachers, and other adults are more willing to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Very seldom are there many leftovers at the end of a class and most of the time, students ask for seconds and thirds.
This school year, 3,000 DC students at nine DC public elementary schools will have opportunities to garden, cook, and eat tasty nutritious recipes together -- all while learning science, math and social studies concepts, and practicing observing and writing -- in school, as part of the FRESHFARM FoodPrints program.
try a foodprints approach at home ... shop & cook together
We encourage families to try a modified FoodPrints approach at home: Designate a family cooking night, choose a few FoodPrints recipes, shop for ingredients together at local farmers markets or grocery stores, cook and eat together ... and enjoy!