San Ysidro School District schools' cafeterias offer a variety of produce every day and we bring local and seasonal produce to our salad bars. But how do they get students excited about trying new foods? On October 16th, 2014, the District hosted its first Mini Farmer’s Market event at Willow Elementary to teach children how fruits and vegetables grow and have them sample fresh produce.
Thanks to the staff from the Farm to School Taskforce, the San Ysidro School District partnered up with Wild Willow Farm, a non-profit educational farm near the border that operates a Supported Agriculture program. Students were excited to learn that their school and the farm shared the same name - willow. Areli, the guest speaker and resident farmet, taught students about farming, composting and nutrition facts from foods grown in California. She also challenged students to try a new food from the salad bar the next day during lunch.
Right after the lesson, students were directed to the “market”, previously set up with the help of volunteers (parents and college students studying to become Dietitians). The stations included sweet potatoes, pears, carrot bunches, kiwi fruit, radishes and pumpkins that the nutrition program got through their local produce distributor. Students could “buy” their favorite produce with fake coins that their Teachers had distributed beforehand.
This event made a positive impact in the school community because children were really excited to taste and be able to “buy” what they liked just like in the real world.
Your school can accomplish this by a collective effort of volunteers, school site Principal and staff, the District’s Food Service Department and non-profit organizations that care about children’s health.
Here are some quotes from students:
“The Farmer’s Market was a good idea for schools so they could learn more about plants and vegetables.”
–Monique Tovar (3rd grade)
“The Farmer’s Market had healthy foods so students could eat them at home and eat healthy.”
–Ryan Murguia (3rd grade)
“The Farmer’s Market gave food to the kids and they ate it in their house and they shared it with their families” –Ramses Bracamontes (3rd grade)
“I tasted new fruits and vegetables that I never tried before.”
–Parish Aguilar (3rd grade)
Article written by Paloma Perez, San Ysidro School District