Young students learn food appreciation basics

Slow Food volunteers at two SAISD schools

Published On: Nov 12 2012 06:01:31 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 12 2012 06:39:49 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

Young students at Lamar Elementary School and Bonham Academy in SAISD are learning the basics of food appreciation thanks to the Slow Food volunteers, who alternate weekly between the two schools.

“Slow Food is a play on words really about being the opposite of fast food,” said Susan Rigg, chapter president of Slow Food South Texas.

Rigg said they help students grow and cultivate school gardens as a learning experience beyond their classrooms.

“We’re outdoors. We’re in nature. We’re trying to get that connection,” Rigg said.

She said they teach the students where food comes from other than the grocery store.

“For me, it’s about opening doors. This can be a lifetime of discovery,” Rigg said.

Absidy Thele and Austin Hoffer, fourth graders at Lamar, both said they’ve had fun learning about food.

“I like it because you get to try new things, like fruits and vegetables. Like today, we tried zucchini,” Hoffer said.

“We learn more about foods around the world, where we get them and how we store them,” Thele said.

Growing up in California, Rigg said there was an abundance of gardens that were the source of her lifelong fascination and respect for food.

The children cluster around her as she explains how cucumbers become pickles and why tomatoes are less hardy than cabbage.

When she looks at their faces, Rigg said, “I suppose in ways, I see myself.”

Most of the students raised their hands when she asked how many have gardens at home. Others are in the planning stage.

“I like to grow things like spinach,” Hoffer said.

Thele said she prefers raising fruits, “mostly bananas, apples and oranges.”

Rigg said someday they’ll be able to harvest and taste the food they’ve grown.

She said, “It opens them up to something that they don’t necessarily do on an everyday basis.”