Friday, September 26, 2008

Helping Children Eat Well

Alice Waters, of Berkeley's famed restaurant Chez Panisse, has started a great project for schoolchildren: The Edible Schoolyard. The program is designed to teach children to grow their own food, in an effort to educate them about nutrition and change eating habits for the good. It's similar to Jamie Oliver's Feed Me Better campaign, kicked off in Britian several years ago, but adds the fantastic idea of actual, hands-on gardening.

I love programs like this; the closer you get to your food - where it comes from, how it's prepared - the better you'll eat. This is true for adults and certainly true for children, many of whom have absolutely no idea how food ends up on their plates. If you let kids get their hands dirty, do things for themselves, they not only have a greater appreciation of the effort it takes to turn a seedling into a salad, they'll be more interested in eating the salad as well. After all, it's theirs, and we all know how kids feel about "mine!"


Anonymous said...

I met Alice Waters in 94, after eating at Chez Panisse. She's still one of my all time idols, and even more so after her latest book came out along with her focus on helping schools create functional and smart lunch programs for kids. :)

It would be so incredible if this were implemented in schools across the country!

Tari said...

I agree! I love that the boys' school doesn't have a caf. It also has rules about what you can and can't pack for your kids, and gives them a little lesson the first day of school on "how to build a healthy lunch". I'm sure some parents would find it a little overbearing (no juice) but I love it.

Marcus and Meg Asby said...

What school do your boys go to? In hopefully 5 1/2 or 6 years we'll be looking for a great school here! That is, if we stay for residency . . . we'll see. It might be nice to live in a place with seasons - just a thought.