By Lacey Flynn, FoodCorps Georgia AmeriCorps Team Leader
FoodCorps Georgia service members attended the Golden Radish Awards last month and were eager to demonstrate how they connect kids with healthy food. FoodCorps lessons play a huge role in engaging students with gardening, cooking, and thinking critically about the way food relates to their communities.
The lesson “People Who Feed Us” seemed like the perfect intro for folks to better get to know what FoodCorps prides itself in and the incredible work its service members do. The lesson gets kids to ponder the question “Who helps provide the food we eat?” Most kids might initially answer this question by focusing on members of their family, but FoodCorps service members want students to dig a bit deeper and explore the bigger picture of our communities. They may provide a sample list of community food helpers to students to better help them brainstorm including beekeeper, cafeteria cook, farmer, food truck driver, and grocery store clerk.
Then, by reading a book together like Pat Brisson’s Before We Eat or Katherine Pryor’s Zora’s Zucchini, students become inspired by the communal act of preparing a meal or sharing food with community members. Students reflect and think of their own community food heroes and create a portrait of whoever that might be. Sharing the portraits together allows students to understand that there are so many different types of community food heroes and each plays an incredibly special role. Within a classroom, there are likely many different communities represented. One student might think of a neighbor who regularly hand makes tortillas for community gatherings. Another might think of their grandmother who bakes a loaf of Challah every week for Shabbat dinner. Students come away from the lesson with more understanding of how food gets to their plate, but also of each other. Demonstrating the lesson at the Golden Radish Awards Expo prompted some incredible portraits of attendees’ community food heroes.
Participants praised farmers, community gardeners, school nutrition staff, and food service workers. There were even a few FoodCorps Georgia service members recognized in portraits and responses. The lesson proved that whether you’re 5 or 50, it feels pretty peachy to remind ourselves of the food heroes in our own communities and the people who feed us.