FoodCorps Friday: Smoothies and Service
By, Captain Planet Foundation service member, Greg Lafortune
If there was anybody who felt inadequate and unprepared for service through FoodCorps, it would be me. After receiving notification that I was accepted to the service member position, feelings of excitement and satisfaction were paired with those of non-expectancy and doubt. I knew that I was capable of serving and advocating for the FoodCorps mission, but also felt like I just didn’t know enough about gardening and agriculture to be effective. In all of my precipitated efforts to weather the storm, more questions, more doubts, and more uncertainty splashed the surface and clouded my confidence. That was then.
Now here I am, two months into my service, and LOVING it. One thing that I can say about myself is that without a hunger for knowledge and willingness to serve, I would have never been able to get over the hump, that feeling that I previously had at the beginning. I have completely embraced my role as “that service member” who is always asking questions, standing back to listen, observing before serving, and learning from mistakes. I am realizing that my garden bed doesn’t have to be perfect. I am seeing that everyone doesn’t have to like the green smoothie with spinach. Currently, I am serving at two schools in Fulton County: Feldwood Elementary School and Woodland Middle School.
At Feldwood, I am serving primarily 1st graders. I walk down 1st grade hall and feel like a celebrity, greeted by a swarm of kids yelling “Hey Mr. La Fo Toon!” It makes me feel special. So far, we have done activities where the kids learn how to grow healthy plants (importance of sunlight, water, etc.) and other things as well. During October Farm to School Month, I did a taste test for all of the first grade classes making green smoothies with spinach. I called the lesson “The Spinach Kickback” where Becky Banana, Adam Apple, Yolie Yogurt, and Sondra Soy Milk got invited to Sam the Salad Spinach’s house for a Healthy Party. The kids enjoyed it and made sounds every time I threw something into the blender. (Find the recipe for this smoothie at the end of this post!) This one girl who was opposed to trying Spinach (because she said only rabbits eat spinach) tried it and liked it! That made me happy.I’ve had the chance to speak to many of the teachers, the administrators, and even the cafeteria manager to start figuring out what farm to school efforts the school needs and wants to implement this year with my support.
My service at Woodland Middle School is a bit different. I’ll be serving mostly with their 7th grade Life Science classes this year. We have planted kale, lettuce, radish, and carrots and harvested tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and cucumber that were all planted in the spring!Last week, I went on a field trip to Serenbe Farms with 6th grade students. Not only did I have a great time, but I got to chop it up with the Health teacher who is chair of Woodland’s Wellness Committee (sounds like a Healthy School Team to me). With the field trip, I also got to speak to a farmer whose name is Ian. I walked through his garden and tasted the sweet peas and kale that he harvested. We exchanged contacts, and I plan on contacting him for tips, tricks, and general questions that I have about gardening.
All this to say: Everything is good. I will never know EVERYTHING, but I am glad that things are starting to come together. I am looking forward to what all my service will look like at the end of the year. But as of now, I won’t be anxious. I will take things day by day and enjoy the growth that accompanies it.
Spinach Smoothie Recipe:
1 cup raw spinach
1 whole Banana
2 whole red apples
4 oz. soy milk
1/3 cup plain vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup ice.
Add to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!