Friday, January 22, 2010

Maybe We Could Get Paparazzi to Follow Farmers?

"Trail mix is totally a trend!"

"No, dear, it really isn't."

"Yes it is. It is everywhere all of a sudden."

"Maybe you only just noticed it?"

This is a conversation taken directly from the food court where I went to college. While I still contend that trail mix is not a trend, there are plenty of food trends running rampant in our society. Some of them are not so good: 100 calorie packs, processed food made to look/seem/feel/smell like real food (I'm looking at you fruit snacks) and over snacking. But some of them are actually kind of great. I will admit my love for Alice Waters knows no bounds.

When I was in the second grade there was a lesson, the point of which I don't actually remember but each child had to bring in something to go into a soup. We made a giant pot of soup with each of our individual items thrown in. I don't remember if I ate it or not but I distinctly remember being responsible for some vegetable my friends thought was gross. I can tell you that I passed the second grade with flying colors and whether the lesson was fractions or sharing I'm generally good at both.

I will say that no one ever taught me about nutrition. The only time it was offered to me was in high school and it was optional. At the time I was so focused on AP government that I barely noticed. I might be personally interested in the subject today but I am 100% sure that it was sorely missed in my education. Even if I hadn't been an overweight kid I can bet I would have benefited.

Another distinct memory I have is of standing in my parents kitchen crying because I had started to figure out I was fat when none of my clothes fit. I honestly could not understand why. It wasn't that my parents didn't try to teach me good habits or that I was too stupid to realize calories in, calories out. The problem was purely one of math. No one had ever taught me in an intelligent way exactly how many calories I needed. I was a kid who sorely needed the academic explanation. Maybe putting a small garden in a school where the children of farm worker's learn math is poor social form but its also possible that these kids are more likely to understand food if they are actually involved in it. Whether or not this means they'll be learning math more effectively could be debatable but the issue of if it is benefiting the children is absolutely not.

1 comment:

diane w said...

OMG this is one of my passions! i DESPERATELY want to work at a school that is part of this:
also alice waters has a book called 'The Edible Schoolyard' that you should totally check out.