Last week I volunteered (as I do every month) with Recipe for Success, a wonderful “seed to plate” organization that brings school gardens and chefs to schools.
Along with celebrity chef Monica Pope, RFS Director of Operations Molly Graham and two other volunteers, our fourth-grade class made veggie pizza using ingredients from the school garden. In lieu of tomato sauce, we made a pesto that included fresh thyme and oregano, and the toppings included kale, peppers, green onions, yellow squash and tomatoes.
One volunteer heard a little push-back when it was time to sample the finished product — too many vegetables! — but it seemed to me when I looked around the table that most, if not all, kids were eating enthusiastically.
For me, the most memorable aspect of this class was when Chef Molly asked my group to identify the fresh oregano. These children come from an underprivileged population and most educated adults probably couldn’t identify fresh oregano on sight, but it was dismaying to hear my kids shout out answers like “broccoli” and “spinach,” showing a pretty high level of food illiteracy.
Another reason why programs like Recipe for Success are so critical.
I’ll report back after my next volunteer session in April.