On October 30, students in the Grady High School Earth Club hosted a lettuce taste test open to fellow students, faculty, and staff. Their goal was to use the taste test not only as a way to encourage their peers to try a healthy food and hopefully enjoy it, but to educate them on local foods. In preparation, I visited the Earth Club a few weeks before the taste test and had the chance to talk with them about local food. I tried to keep my research and preparation on the topic broad so that the Earth Club could take from it what most interested them and apply it to their own educational efforts through the taste test. We looked at maps showing regions where different foods are produced, processed, and shipped, we touched on some economic, environmental, and social benefits of local foods, and even had a taste test of local apples.
When I came back to Grady on the day of the taste test, I was blown away by what they had taken from learning more about local foods and by what they had created to share that information with their peers. A “Lettuce Inform You” poster highlighted the importance of knowing you farmer, supporting your community, and reducing your environmental impact through purchasing food locally. Even more spectacular was the informational map the students created. It illustrated the distance food travels compared to the locally bought lettuce being served. The visual was not only informative, sharing facts about planes being the number one polluter when it comes to food transportation and information on the farm the Earth Club had obtained their lettuce from, but it also made an impact to see a comparison of food miles. It truly made the taste-tester stop and wonder, “do you know where your food comes from?”