There’s nothing like a community harvest at the Teens for Food Justice farm to clear away the winter blues. On February 28th, the teen volunteer team hosted over one hundred people at the farm for a high-energy family wellness event, our second community harvest of the year. Guests joined us for teen-led workshops and games geared towards gaining practical knowledge and tools for eating a balanced, nutritious diet on a budget. For example, in a salad-making workshop families built their own salad bowls with toppings such as grapes, feta cheese, chicken, and sliced almonds, demonstrating that salad can easily be made into a tasty and filling meal. Afterwards, families each took home a couple heads of lettuce, freshly harvested from the farm, to make their own salads at home. Accompanying the salad-making demo were blind taste tests of rice and beans recipes made with brown versus white rice. As it turns out, brown rice is pretty well-liked, and this gave teens the opportunity to describe to families both the taste and health benefits of choosing brown rice and other whole grain products.
Across the hall from the farm, TFFJ volunteers and mentors guided families through our second annual Mock Supermarket healthy shopping training (an adaptation of No Kid Hungry’s Cooking Matters at the Store), sharing with the community the tips they learned last month for shopping for healthy food items on a budget. To bring the message home, children and their parents searched the mock supermarket aisles for the ingredients for a recipe of turkey tacos. After comparing the price and nutrition value of homemade tacos to those of a meal at McDonald’s, everyone comes to the eye-opening conclusion that this fast food joint hasn’t been giving them very happy, healthy, or even more affordable meals!
Other fun activities include a table with nutrition science experiments, a build-your-own-smoothie station (kids never pass up all that tasty fruit), and an art activity that teaches children about their vital organs and how nutrients from different foods help each one function. The day wrapped up with a community favorite, a group game of Junk Food Jeopardy, and the announcement of some lucky raffle winners. Thanks to the generous contribution of B + C Restaurant Group, raffle winners took home two gift certificates to Peaches, a fantastic local restaurant, and a high-powered blender to use for healthy smoothies and soups.
The volunteer team is excited to have shared so many healthy food insights with so many families at New Beginnings Charter School, and as we kick off National Nutrition Month, we are ready to eat and advocate our way to better health!
Photos courtesy of Toni Leston. See more fun photos of this service day on Flickr!