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Veggie Tasting & Compost Stew – A Volunteer’s Perspective

May 23, 2013
Betty Compost

Betty helping the students make compost

My name is Betty. I came from China last year as an international student to study at Simon Fraser University. I found out about the Growing Chefs! through the internet. I decided to get involved because I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to learn something new while having fun. I love working with children and it is very likely that I will become a teacher in the future as I am interested in education as well. Besides, I like cooking and gardening. It was a great honor for me to take part in Growing Chefs! this year. 

Our team had a great time during lesson three with the grade one students from Brentwood Park Elementary! Lesson three is all about exploring different vegetables and composting.


Vegetable sharing circle

With the help of the teacher Ms. Yap, almost all of the students brought in a different vegetable to share with the class. There was cilantro, broccoli, tomato, radish, zucchini, bok choy, corn, you name it! While the students were sitting in a circle, we asked them to share something about the vegetable they brought. Many of them told the class how they prepare the vegetable at home.


When it came to tasting the vegetables, the kids reacted differently. Some were curious about the vegetables they hadn’t tasted before. I remember a little boy, who at first just refused to have a taste of the white radish, when asked why, he said nothing but shook his head. The teacher ensured him that it was safe and inspired him to have a taste. To our joy, he finally picked up a small piece of radish. It was a breakthrough!

After tasting the delicious vegetables, we had a discussion about composting. A boy named Nicholas raised his hand and shared with the class the process of composting and how it works. I wondered why he knew so much about it. I later found out that one of his relative’s has a garden!

Stephanie reading 'Compost Stew: An A - Z Recipe for Earth'

Stephanie reading ‘Compost Stew: An A – Z Recipe for Earth’

After that, my teammate Stephanie read ‘Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth,’ which is about all things compostable. She showed every beautifully illustrated page to the kids as she was reading. All of the students were looking at the book, quietly and attentively.

'Compost Stew: An A-Z Recipe for Earth' by Mary McKenna Siddals

‘Compost Stew: An A-Z Recipe for Earth’ by Mary McKenna Siddals

When it was time to make our own compost stew, the children were very enthusiastic. They came to us time after time to put things that could go into the compost stew.

At the end, the class gave us a big surprise – a wonderful performance of “Potato Song,” written by them with Ms. Yap taking the lead. Have a guess of what melody they used – “Gangnam Style!” Accompanied by the music, the whole class began to dance. They even integrated the four steps to plant seeds into the song. They became more relaxed as they danced. Gradually, their eyes lit up with joy, everybody wore a smile. We were all absorbed in to their amazing show. I remember the moment that I couldn’t help clapping and dancing with them. The happiness was beyond words. It was an unforgettable experience.

I felt much more relaxed than before during this lesson. The children are so cute! They know a lot more than I expected. They are polite, friendly and well-behaved.

Thanks to Ms. Yap, who’s always trying to help the team in different ways. As well, I’d like to thank my teammates!

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 1, 2013 10:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing this thoughtful perspective on your experience, Betty, as well as your kind words about my book, COMPOST STEW. The kids sure are lucky to have such enthusiastic volunteers bringing this exciting program into their classrooms. Keep up the good work spreading a little green in the world with Growing Chefs!

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