More than 100 students showed off their green thumbs at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland last week as part of the school’s Salad Day.
The second- and third- graders came out at different times of the day to harvest and clean vegetables they had planted in the school garden earlier this year. It’s all part of the school’s eco-literacy program.
“Eco-literacy is about teaching the kids how to read the natural world. We see this as a living library,” said teacher and garden creator, Mary Schriner.
Working in stations, the students harvested lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and other produce. At one station, there were bowls of chopped veggies for the students to try.
“I like the cauliflower!” “That (tomato) tastes horrible!” “I’ll eat celery, it’s just not my favorite.” Those were a few of the things that students said after trying the samples.
About eating vegetables, second grader, Layla said, “I think it makes you healthy and you feel better,” adding that she enjoys eco-literacy. “We learned about making dressing and growing vegetables. Learned about how to help the plants.”
Layla’s mother, Crystal Whisenton, says the gardening that students do at school has turned Layla into a gardener at home.
“It got my daughter into vegetable,” she said.
In this program, the students not only learn how to garden, they also learn about the way things grow and how plants and animals are in interconnected. They also study the environmental impact of their choices, such as buying food that has to be transported from faraway places.
Some students didn’t eat the salad, saying they don’t like it. But those that did had strong feelings about the food and the experience of being farmers. “Salad tastes good, that’s what I learned,” said third grader, Silas.
“The more times we eat vegetables, the stronger we will be,” said third grader Jaasir.
Third grader Cartier said, “I learned about hard work.”
|Teacher Mary Schriner says this effort makes a big difference for many families.
“I do have parents who say my kids would never touch vegetables before Soup Day or Salad Day,” she said. “But now they love them.”