The 2012 Food Day School Curriculum was designed for educators as a Food Day resource that can be used in the classroom or to increase your own knowledge about what it means to Eat Real: Download the 2012 Food Day School Curriculum
Many times gardening is promoted as a way to teach youth where their food comes from. This phrase, “know where your food comes from,” is one that has received much attention and rightfully so. It is an important phrase, but is often used casually and many times without an understanding of what it entails to really know the food you are putting into your body or why that is an important concept.
If you grow your own produce you know very well where that food comes from as you watch your garden grow. When you purchase items from a farmer’s market you may meet the farmers who labored over the produce. You may have chosen to purchase from that farm because you agree with the farming practices used. If you buy components of your daily food from the supermarket there are likely a few more steps involved in getting the goods from their origination to your plate. You may or may not know what those steps are. Knowing your food does not mean you have to purchase everything locally or grow it yourself. This is a great option, but necessity often requires us to buy from larger supermarkets as well. Knowing your food is a decision to be aware of the process used to get your food to you and the products required to make your food. Maintaining this awareness will help you make responsible choices that benefit everyone.
Celebrating Real Food
Food Day is a celebration to bring awareness toward this movement of responsibility with our food choices. The purpose of Food Day is to educate you about the steps your food goes through to get to your plate ensuring our choices of food, including where and who we buy from, are wise. Food Day is celebrated nationwide on October 24th. It’s about health, hunger, agriculture policy, farm worker justice, and animal welfare. The Food Day celebration is intended to bring an awareness of the relationship among these factors and our food to consumers young and old.
Celebrate Food Day in the Garden
You can start a Food Day celebration and movement at your site. If you already have a garden onsite, you have the makings of a great Food Day celebration. Gardening has many beneficial outcomes that meet the goals of Food Day. A garden can increase food security by improving access to fruits and vegetables. Growing your own produce reduces the amount of processing that goes into the fruits and vegetables harvested. Research has shown that children are more likely to try fruits and vegetables when they participate in growing them. This is an important benefit as many children do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. You can help the youth and others in your community within your sphere of influence, learn to make responsible decisions for their health at any age by teaching them to know their food.
Here are some ideas for ways to celebrate Food Day:
- Feature a different fruit/vegetable from the garden each day of the week leading up to Food Day. Have students make a poster for each fruit/vegetable and include why eating that fruit/vegetable is a healthy choice. Display the posters in the cafeteria.
- Have students share their favorite family recipes that use produce from the garden. Celebrate on the day of Food Day with a harvest feast allowing students to bring in prepared dishes from home.
- Prepare a recipe together as a class using produce from the garden. Some ideas for simple recipes include: salsa, vegetable pizza, zucchini bread.
- Invite a farmer to visit your classroom to share about his/her work. Have students give him/her a tour of the garden.
Food Day celebrations can be any size and can involve any number of activities. Visit foodday.org for a multitude of resources and ideas for bringing the important concepts and goals of Food Day to your students. Millions around the country will celebrate eating real on October 24th. Start a movement in your community by getting your students involved to promote healthy decisions for life.