We have an incredible team of volunteers! We're currently distributing a lot of take-home snack bags to students. Every week, volunteers pack hundreds of bags with healthy snack items to help students in need focus on homework, sports, and other after-school activities.
This week, to celebrate Earth Day, students got to partake in our final "healthy eating" event of the school year.
All year, our AmeriCorps member, Rachel has been encouraging students to explore flavor combinations that highlight vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown at the School Farm, along with other local fruits and vegetables.
For Earth Day week, students got to sample Oat Bars made with homemade applesauce and topped with student made apple jam. Multigrain crackers with herbed yogurt dip and edible flowers. And a "earth tea" steeped with herbs and flowers, all from the School Farm.
Along with preparing elements of the item, 5th and 6th grade students served their younger classmates and were able to share information about each sample that was being tasted.
We got to have a little fun with snack today. Our AmeriCorps member Rachel made up "Roasted Grasshopper" popcorn for SWES students.
The topping was actually a very tasty blend of dried pea shoots that had been grown at the School Farm, mixed with other herbs and avocado oil.
6th-graders delivering popcorn in one of our "Snack Wagons"!
Our Healthy Snack Program has been in full swing this school year - delivering fresh fruit and vegetable snacks (and organic popcorn on Fridays!) every day to all students in Kindergarten through 6th grade. The program has gotten a tremendous response from students and teachers alike!
One unexpected result of the program was discovering another area of hunger that some students were experiencing. Several teachers had asked if there were any leftover snacks that they could give to students who needed after-school food support. A quick survey of teachers identified more students who would benefit from regular after-school food options, so we quickly created a take-home snack opportunity. We are now distributing over 30 bags a day of healthy snack items to students (and their younger siblings) who need additional nutrition support after school.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! What goes better with carrot sticks from the South Whidbey School Farms for snack at the Elementary School? Green hummus! Our AmeriCorps member, Rachel made a fresh batch using greens from the School Farm.
On February 28th, our AmeriCorps member, Rachel led students in our second "healthy eating event" of the school year - Pass the Plate. The event highlighted three international dishes selected and prepared by 5th and 6th-grade culinary students and featured vegetables grown by students at the School Farm. K-4th grade students were invited to sample each dish and record their impressions in a passport. The three recipes they tasted were; Havij Polo - a Persian carrot rice dish, Potato Gnocchi - an Italian dumpling, and Wattakka Kalu Pol - a pumpkin curry from Sri Lanka. All dishes got favorable reviews, but students liked the Havij Polo best!
This year, the Harvest Feast was fully adapted to a take-home meal. Included were new recipes we developed that were made by our 5th and 6th grade culinary students!
They began their preparation by learning how to make mashed potatoes and exploring different methods to meet allergy concerns. This lesson consisted of knife skills and cooking techniques including how to confit garlic!
After mastering 112 pounds of potatoes we moved on to arguably the most important dish of fall.. Pumpkin Pie! A big thank you to Whidbey Pies for donating pie crusts to make this happen! The students learned the importance of warming spices and why ratios are important when blending them. They jumped right in by scooping out the seeds of the farm grown pumpkins with their (gloved) hands, and practiced cracking eggs. Their effort was rewarded in the form of 40 pumpkin pies!
During a 40 minute lesson, these students plowed through farm harvested carrots for the thyme and garlic roasted carrots!
The final recipe was a seasonal kale salad. The students prepped the kale using a massage technique to break down the fibers so the salad could soak up more of the vinaigrette that featured the apple juice from their apple pressing lesson!
Then, on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, the boxed-up meals were delivered to the over 275 students and family members who had signed up. Artwork and cards from the younger grades, as well as the menu, were included in the decorated bags.