It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later! – By Taylor McIntyre
Wow, three weeks have flown so fast! I have spent the last three weeks visiting different elementary schools around Vancouver and joining volunteer teams in the Growing Chefs classrooms. Visiting different classrooms every day has provided me with an opportunity to engage with all sorts of kids and to evaluate whether Growing Chefs is making a difference in the lives of students.
After three weeks in the classroom, I can say with complete confidence that Growing Chefs has made a huge impact on the students who are fortunate enough to take part in the program. Growing Chefs sends volunteer chefs and community members into elementary schools to teach young kids about healthy eating, sustainability, and the importance of buying locally. Students plant their own gardens in the classroom and over the course of three and a half months they learn how vegetables evolve from seeds, and they gain an appreciation for the amount of hard work that goes into growing their own food. It’s hard to believe, but many kids don’t realize that vegetables come from seeds. They think that vegetables just come from the grocery store. Growing Chefs opens childrens’ eyes to how food is grown, harvested, and sustained. What’s great is that most kids in the class gain a much stronger appreciation for vegetables when they realize the complexity of a plant’s life cycle. Students get really excited to try their own vegetables from their gardens and they realize how rewarding it is to eat vegetables that they grew with their own hands. This sense of appreciation is extremely rewarding as a volunteer for Growing Chefs.
As a volunteer for Growing Chefs, I must say that my experience with this nonprofit organization has been an eye opening one to say the least. I have realized in my short time with Growing Chefs that young kids are very much in need of food education. Growing Chefs is bringing this education to students because they believe that all kids should have access to food education and food literacy early on. Having just finished teaching for ten weeks in a high school, I witnessed, first hand, teenagers’ lack of knowledge around food. It is clear that students are lacking education around food and this is why it is so important for students to learn about food from a young age. I hope that one day food education will be valued as much as arithmetic and geography. But, until that day, there is always Growing Chefs; a charity that devotes itself to providing food education to students when such education is inaccessible in too many schools across BC. I am so proud to call myself a member of the Growing Chefs team, to know that I am helping bring food education to students, and to share the dream of one day seeing food education incorporated in curriculum everywhere.
It’s been a blast,