On a chilly April morning last week, Atlanta United players and staff joined Georgia Organics and FoodCorps at Park Street Elementary in Marietta for a kale filled day with the kids.
Third graders spent the morning crafting planters out of milk cartons, painting them in Atlanta United’s black, red, and gold team colors. The kids sprinkled soil and kale seeds into their new planters and set them aside to take home later.
Some classes were filled with meticulous students, carefully painting neat stripes on their planters and making sure any paint splashes were quickly mopped up, and some classes were a rowdier bunch, smearing gobs of paint on the papered classroom tables and daring each other to eat the dirt meant for the planters.
At lunchtime we conducted a taste test with a cheesy kale dip with tortilla chips. Most of the kids liked it! For many of students, it was the first time they tried kale. All of the students got kale printed temporary tattoos, and sported them on their hands and arms with way more panache and style than you would expect from a first grader.
Several Atlanta United players, including Brad Guzan and Darlington Nagbe, joined the kids at lunch, sitting in the way-too-small-for-professional-athletes cafeteria stools, hunched over and squeezed between the kids and their lunch trays. The players enjoyed chatting with the students just as much as the students enjoyed chatting with them, and they had the special kind of erratic and earnest conversations you have when children are attempting to make small talk with you (“I’m seven and a half, why don’t you play Fortnite?”). They tried the kale together and the players complimented the kids on their snazzy new tattoos.
After lunch it was time for the Atlanta United players and staff to get back to work, so they bid goodbye and reminded the kids to eat their veggies, listen to their teachers, and stay active. Sage advice for us all!
The Georgia Organics Farm to School Team has enjoyed its partnerships with Georgia sports heroes to model healthy behaviors with students. Thanks to the generous funding of the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, Atlanta Falcons players visited Barrow County Schools and Jackson County Schools to rally around school lunch. Thank you Atlanta United and Atlanta Falcons for celebrating farm to school and school lunch with us!