Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 all around the world in order to promote environmental awareness and protection, and each year we hold an all-school assembly to learn about a different Earth-friendly topic.
The theme of this year’s Earth Day was Keep it Local! We focused on the importance of eating food grown locally. Eating local food can mean so many different things! Shopping at a local farmer’s market and supporting our local farmers, buying foods in the grocery store that are in season in your state, growing your own food at a community garden or in your own front or backyard garden. These are all examples of local foods and ways to incorporate them into our lives.
We watched a video titled “Field to Fork” (see resources for link) which taught us that buying and eating local food is good for the environment, good for the economy, and good for our health. We learned about food miles, defined as the distance between where food is grown to where it is eaten, and how, if we’re growing tomatoes in the garden (which we will be!), and we bring them up to the teaching kitchen to use in a Recipe of the Month class, that’s like zero food miles! That’s zero gallons of gas used to transport them, zero greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere, and zero dollars to buy because they were free because we grew them ourselves! Eating locally is pretty fun.
In the spirit of eating locally, we held our own version of the popular television show “Chopped!” and had three teachers and their three student sous chefs compete against one another to make the tastiest salad featuring the most seasonally relevant ingredients available. Needless to say the room was wild with cheering and laughter!
To conclude, we created a school-wide Earth Day Initiative to compost more of the food waste we create on a daily basis. All of the food scraps produced in our kitchen are composted daily. However, most of the banana and orange peels and apple cores produced during snack time or for dessert at lunch have been being thrown into the trash. To prevent excess waste from ending up in a land fill and to promote more recycled food waste going into the creation of nutritious (and local!) soil for our garden, we challenged the school to compost their snack and dessert scraps! Working with teachers and student ambassadors throughout the school, we are encouraging, reminding, and supporting our community in our heightened composting efforts to make the world a better, and healthier, place to live.