Volunteer Profile: Tara Hanacek
Occupation: Chef, Tableau Bar Bistro
Why did you decide to get involved with the Growing Chef! Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program?
I decided to volunteer for Growing Chefs! because I truly believe in this amazing program. In previous years, I had not had the freedom to dedicate myself as a volunteer. Growing Chefs! transforms children’s ideas about vegetables and teaches them valuable skills. I think it is very important to teach children (especially in urban schools) about where their food comes from and about the importance of eating nutritiously.
What was it like to be a Growing Chefs! volunteer?
Volunteering with Growing Chefs! was an eye-opening experience for everyone involved. The children and other volunteers taught me a lot. I had a great, supportive and eager team who all helped make this program fun and educational. Everyone added their unique knowledge and skills to round out the team nicely. We all pitched in to keep it exciting for the children and ourselves. As a volunteer, you get to know the children and watch them evolve into veggie lovers.
What was your favorite Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program moment?
My favourite classroom moment had to be on Salad Day (lesson 5). After demonstrating how to make salad dressing we let the kids make their own salad with carrots, beets, a variety of greens, and sunflower seeds. A silence fell over the class as each child dug their forks hungrily into their self-constructed towers of salad. After a few quiet moments one boy shouted, “I love salad. Salad is the best lunch ever!!”
It was awesome.