For 14 weeks this semester, we will be exploring in both the kitchen and garden how the food system and our diet are interconnected with climate change. We started our first class with a circle, where our fourth and fifth graders shared what they already knew about climate change and what questions they had. Then we watched a video from The Daily Conversation called Fight Climate Change, Eat Less Meat. Some students talked about being vegetarians; others talked about how difficult it would be to give up bacon. One student shared about his experience eating a plant-based burger and how it only tasted a little bit different than a traditional beef burger. We all agreed that climate change is complicated and that as learners there is a lot of research we need to do to get to the bottom of big questions like “Is plastic always worse than glass or paper?” and “Is eating soy good or bad for the environment?”
In the kitchen, we made a vegan corn and coconut soup to highlight how flavorful a simple plant-based meal can be. The kids enjoyed reacquainting themselves with some favorite kitchen tools: the garlic press; the citrus juicer; the crinkle cutter; and a new one for some, the immersion blender. Working with ingredients at the height of their season (like sweet corn in late summer) always yields delicious results. We were quickly reminded of why we do this work: the students were engaged, having fun, and enjoying something nutritious they made with their own hands!