04 Apr Seed To Table
FOOD AND GARDEN SCIENCE
At Montclare, we are proud to be working with Ingredient Happy to better connect children to the food they eat through hands-on seed-to-table learning and planting in our rooftop garden.
Starting with Seeds
Our child-centric Food & Garden Science curriculum is designed to help children trace the origin of food all the way from seed to table. It is proven that when children are involved in the cooking process, they’re more likely to try new foods and make healthier choices.
We started our food exploration this spring by cutting into apples and discovering their seeds. Children were given planters and soil to sprout their own apple seeds. Learning about an apple’s life-cycle, from a seed to a baby sapling, to an apple tree, onto a truck to get to the market before making it to our homes, was an exciting way to kick off our cooking activity. We prepared a fresh Honey Apple Cinnamon Salad.
Soil and Sprouts
Once children learn that many foods start from seeds, they start to more closely examine what they eat. Soil and seed studies play an integral role in the children’s’ understanding of their food’s journey from seed-to-table. After learning how potatoes grow, one class planted their own to observe what could sprout from the potatoes “eyes.”
Children were delighted to try a sampling of potatoes in a fun taste test, including a unique purple potato. Finding seeds while spiraling fresh zucchini and yellow squash to create a lemon “zoodle” salad proved to be another fun way for children to discover a new food while tracing it back to the ground.
Recycling and Worms
Turning something old into something new is a great way to introduce recycling to children. It helps them understand the positive impact their habits can have on their personal environment. In addition to creating biodegradable planters on Earth Day, the children created recycled worm habitats. We filled old soda bottles with soil, seeds, and food scraps.
Children then shredding newspaper into tiny pieces and added it to the worm habitat. We learned that after the worms eat the newspaper and old food, they will make the soil in our garden healthier for plants by fertilizing it with their waste. Some children were quick to point out that this is a form of recycling itself!
Our study of the journey from “seed-to- table” ended with a chickpea investigation. Children explored chickpeas in their three forms: Dry (seed form), fresh (raw), and cooked. Making a delicious tahini-free hummus with cooked chickpeas ended the lesson.
Some classes sprouted their own chickpea plants using the dried chickpeas in their seed form, eventually transplanting them to the rooftop garden to accompany the many other seedlings from previous classes.
Rooftop visits for play time are now paired with children plucking fresh edibles, as well as admiring an array of colorful flowers. Their edible garden includes fresh chives, rosemary, thyme, lettuce, stevia, swiss chard, chocolate mint, spearmint, basil, oregano, leeks, cilantro, snap pea, broccoli, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, and sage.