By Lauren Wanko
It’s lunchtime at Philip’s Academy Charter School and students can’t get enough of their veggies.
“My favorite vegetable is broccoli,” said David Hadn.
“I love kale,” said Darius Evans.
“I love broccoli,” said Gregory Jones.
Kids who love their vegetables? Sounds a bit unusual. Not for these students. That’s because throughout the year, they learn all about healthy eating habits and they even grow their own vegetables.
In their indoor growing system, students plant, harvest and ultimately chow down on all sorts of fresh greens. And in the warmer weather, they head up to the rooftop garden.
“We find there isn’t one single food that they won’t be excited about trying and tasting when it’s pulled from the garden,” said environmental teacher Catkin Flowers.
“We see what we’re growing. We know what we’re eating,” said eighth-grader Tyler Scott.
“It basically helped me look at what I’m eating in a different way, in a different angle,” said eighth-grader Ya Asia.
In the teaching kitchen, fifth-graders learn how to make guacamole. Benjamin Opont is dicing the tomatoes — his favorite food.
“I eat them all the time and I just get used to it and think tomatoes sweet,” Opont said.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to really have a chance to interact with food and take those ingredients home with you so you can teach your brother or sister,” said fifth-grader Tkai Atily.
It’s the message these educators want their students to take home.
“The whole idea here is to get them to eat healthy and to leave the school with this notion they can take care of their bodies and ultimately the plant and you know the other people in their lives,” said EcoSpaces Program Director Frank Mentesanal.
Back in the teaching kitchen, after slicing and dicing, students finally get to dig in and enjoy their tasty and nutritious snack.