Food Tank, a “Food Think Tank” addressing the flaws in our food system sat down with AGC’s Founder Sarah Elizabeth Ippel to talk about how nutrition impacts learning and interacts with curriculum at the Academy for Global Citizenship. The conversation ranges from food enhancing classroom vocabulary to helping other schools “Eat What They Grow” in their gardens.
A local produce tasting can enhance a lesson in adjectives, if the food is “fresh,” and “crisp,” and the flavors “rich,” “heavy,” “delicate” or “overpowering.” Our first graders enjoy a six week “Farm to Table” unit every year, during which they study the journey of food from the ground to their plates. We find food production is an incredibly effective way to teach sequencing. Our students are more engaged in their learning because the topics are relevant to their lives.
Chicago Health Magazine published an article yesterday which details some of the financial barriers to most nutritious eating habits. While no “quick-fix” exists, the article explores steps that families and individuals can take towards cultivating healthy, nutritious diets. Chicago Health asked AGC founder Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Purple Asparagus founder Melissa Graham and Colleen Lammel-Harmon, the creator of a Chicago Parks District nutrition class to weigh in on the issue.
Ms. Graham, whose programs have encouraged healthy nutrition choices in the AGC community, offers suggestions for making affordable nutrition choices: cooking at home whenever possible and occasionally favoring beans and lentils over meat for protein.
Ms. Ippel explains the impact that AGC’s garden program has on our students and their families. Active involvement in a vegetable garden encourages healthy decision-making through fostering an understanding and appreciation of nutrition. “It’s amazing to me to see the passion and enthusiasm the students develop when they have ownership of the plan, what we plant and what we harvest,” says Ms. Ippel, ” “We often hear stories from parents [that] their child will identify healthier options at the grocery store.”
Finally, Chicago Health directs readers to an incredible resource, a shopping guide created by the Environmental Working Group to help plan good meals for less money. The guide includes educational materials, a budget workbook, recipes and a meal planner.