“Adam” (not their actual name) is a talkative, rambunctious kid. One of our staff was sitting with him to supervise during the first lesson when his 1st grade class was learning to chop veggies with safety knives. The lesson was “Taste the Rainbow”, about the nutrient importance of eating vegetables of different colors, so we were chopping everything from purple cabbage to red peppers. “Adam” quickly finished with the veggies on his cutting board, and looked longingly at the pile he’d chopped. “Do I have to wait to eat them? They look so good!” With permission, he started snacking away on his “rainbow salad”, and ate three salad plates full of veggies.

While eating, “Adam” shared how excited he was to return to the garden in the spring. He conspiratorially said, “Do you know what? When it’s growing I like to go out to the garden after school and have snacks from the garden. It’s so good to eat veggies when they’re fresh! My favorites are peas. If you’re wondering what happens to the peas, it’s me. I’m like a rodent, I’m a garden pest.”

We actually encourage students to eat veggies from the garden (so long as they leave enough for other classes), so we told “Adam” he wasn’t doing anything wrong. “Adam” got quiet for a minute, and then asked, “Could I bring home veggies for my mom and little sister? They don’t ever get to eat veggies, and I know they’d love them too.” We found him a ziplock bag in which he carefully gathered all the extra veggie from the lesson.

“Adam” is so excited to bring his family to the garden in the spring to help water and gather veggies after school. It was a bit heartbreaking, because Adam is underweight for his age. We have to assume he hasn’t been well-nourished at home. We’re glad that he can discover a love of veggies in HVS garden lessons, learn to grow and prepare them himself, enjoy fresh garden lesson snacks, share the bounty with his family, and have a strong foundation for healthy food choices in life. - from JFK, from Air