With a goal to educate Akron Public Schools’ students about the importance of healthy eating and how real food reaches their plate, Veggie U and Mustard Seed Market have aligned to provide third-graders with an enhancement to their classroom gardens.
Veggie U has provided APS students with an indoor garden program and curriculum covering plant science and nutrition for the past seven years. Supported by the Akron Community Foundation, and Veggie U fundraising initiatives, the 80-plus gardens have been provided at no cost to the schools. The Veggie U five-week science program kicks off with a vegetable-tasting activity designed to pique the students’ interest and excitement about growing their own veggies to eat at the end of the program.
Again this year, Mustard Seed Market & Cafe supplied each Akron 3rd-grade classroom teacher with vegetable assortments including dandelion greens, rainbow carrots, rainbow tomatoes, watermelon radishes, snap peas and jicama. All were pre-washed in reverse osmosis water and provided for students to taste as they began the Veggie U program.
“At Mustard Seed Market & Café, we believe that any opportunity to introduce children to a healthy lifestyle and teach them how real food reaches their plate is priceless,” said Gabe Nabors, second generation owner of Mustard Seed Market & Café. “We value partnerships and opportunities to work with the youth in Northeast Ohio, and are appreciative to the Veggie U program for including us.”
Veggie U, a nonprofit children’s education program, teaches the importance of nutrition and sustainable agriculture by providing interactive lesson plans and a classroom garden to elementary and special needs students. The classroom garden includes seeds, soil, root view boxes, grow lights, a worm farm, an opportunity to sample tasting vegetables, and a 25-lesson teacher guide that meets state and national standards for life science.