If a food service director serves beets*, how might classroom teachers get students excited about eating them while also meeting their own teaching schedules and objectives? In the Traverse City Area Public Schools and Boyne Falls Public Schools this year, they do so by tapping into a collection of lessons vetted by curriculum specialists at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.
The lessons were developed with the assistance of FoodCorps service members, who are part of an AmeriCorps program that is specifically geared to help kids learn to eat healthy in schools. They have worked in the classroom with teachers to test the lessons for ease of use. In one class, FoodCorps service member Lindsay Hall worked with children to create Valentine’s Day cards using beet juice as the ink.
In other schools, children learn graphing by charting the results of cafeteria taste tests.
“To connect to curriculum, we talked about how beets grow, how beets were used throughout history as fabric dye and how the words ‘beet’ and ‘beat’ are homophones — giving us plenty of un-BEET-able puns for our cards.” —Lindsay Hall, FoodCorps Service Member, Boyne Falls Public Schools
The ISD has created a home for the lessons on a farm to school webpage that it created last year. It is available for anyone to use at www.farmtoschool.tbaisd.org.
*Michigan’s 10 Cents A Meal for Michigan's Kids & Farms is a successful state pilot that provides schools with up to 10 cents a meal in match funding to purchase and serve Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Originally a $250,000 state pilot in prosperity regions 2 and 4, lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder expanded 10 Cents A Meal for the 2017-2018 school year to also include prosperity region 9 with an increased budget of $375,000. The is one in a series of stories documenting 10 Cents A Meal for Michigan's Kids & Farms.