Thursday, April 14, 2011

Food Revolution Fridays: Twitter Parties, More on the Home Lunch Bans and Some Solutions

Jamie's first Food Revolution Twitter party was a roaring success! Despite the very late hour for him and his team over in the UK, they rocked the party with great questions and chatted with everyone. It's so encouraging to see so many people behind the Food Revolution and talking about creating change. I was so proud to help Jamie put it together and promote it!

If you missed the party, keep an eye out for more twitter party announcements-we have another one planned for next week at a good time for people on the East Coast!

Yesterday's post generated a lot of comments. The general agreement was that education really is the key, but where do we start? Let me tell you some fantastic ideas that I have seen from various schools in BC.

1. Hold a Harvest Lunch

Spanning three grades in a fairly large city school, a group of teachers got together and planned an entire activity around the story "Stone Soup". The kids grew vegetables for science, read books about gardens for language arts, studied different kinds of produce, counted veggies for math, which all led to a huge harvest lunch. Each grade was divided into groups, given a list, and we walked down the road to a local market where we bought a pile of fruit and veggies. Once back at the school, all the kids helped peel, chop, and cook up huge pots of soup, fruit salad, and bread all from scratch. Older kids were paired up with younger ones, each were given age appropriate tasks, and we turned the school into one massive cook-fest.

The very BEST part was once everything was cooked, everyone sat down together and ate lunch. You'd think the kids would balk at vegetable soup, but no-they gobbled it down and had seconds. Thirds! It was one of the most fun things I've ever done with a group of students. Sitting in a gym with a pile of kids eating soup that we created together bring a group together in a way like no other.

2. Healthier class parties

Class parties are, at best, a junk food fest. Would you believe that one class I worked in the teacher assigned kids to bring in cupcakes, so that for EVERY child in the class there would be a cupcake celebration? Plus the school had almost weekly bake sales?

Another teacher had smart class parties; ONE parent was assigned to bring a treat, and only enough for each child to have one serving. That was it. All the other parents were asked to bring fruit, veggies, cheese, and crackers. The kids loved it! Not only did they down all the healthy food, but then the treat really was special.

The bonus was there was no tummy aches or kids in sugar overload.

3. The Great Fruit bowl exchange

One school I worked at was in a poorer area of town, and the kids would often arrive with pop, chips, and chocolate bars in their lunches. It was a problem, and a teacher came up with a great way to solve it in her classroom.

If a child arrived with either chips, pop, or a chocolate bar in their lunch, she gave them the option to stash it on her desk and save until after school, and grab something out of the fruit bowl that was brimming with fresh fruit and juice boxes or milk. Many kids took her up on it and that way nobody was singled out, the kids often chose the healthy option, and the parents eventually found out that the kids preferred fruit over a bag of chips and began sending it instead!

4. Instead of a Bake Sale, what about a Farmer's Market?

Admittedly, I haven't seen this done but I believe it could really work. Instead of having a class bake sale, I think that if you set up booths with things like fruit kebabs, little bags of carrots/snap peas/cherry tomatoes cut in half with dip and other healthy snacks, you could have a really fun 'farmer's market' instead of a bake sale.

5. Do a Grocery Store Tour and A Produce Safari

Another class I worked in toured a local grocery store. Party of their assignment was to go to the produce section and see how many fruits/veggies they could identify! We had been studying up on all our produce the week before, read lots of books, and learned where many of them came from. The bonus? Each child was allowed to buy one thing to take back to school and try. Some stuck to the more familiar items, but some became a little adventurous!

Like any of these ideas? Feel free to take them and run with it at your own child's school. The more parents we can get involved, the more education, the better!

Has your school turned food education into a fun activity? Tell me about it in the comments!

I've been asked to put in a linky so that people can link up, but Mr. Linky is being stubborn for me! Instead, if you wish to link up your Food Revolution Friday post, give me the link in the comments and I'll work on getting a linky up asap.

While you are doing that, go check out Bits of Organic where she talks about sourcing out local food.

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