Partnership with Veggie U offers lessons in science, sustainable agriculture
With a goal to educate Akron Public Schools’ (APS) 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 Akron Community Foundation, GAR 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.
Recently, Mustard Seed Market & Cafe supplied each Akron 3rd grade classroom teacher with vegetable assortments including rainbow Swiss chard, rainbow carrots, rainbow tomatoes, watermelon radishes, purple cauliflower and blood oranges to finish with a sweet treat. 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.”
For info, visit www.mustardseedmarket.com.
Veggie U is a nonprofit children’s education program and 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. These materials allow the students to see, feel, taste, and experience the process of planting, growing, and harvesting a crop in their classroom. Over 7,000 Veggie U Classroom Gardens have grown in 36 states.