Here's what kids say:
- “It was amazing to see how our food tasted!”
“Cooking is fun, and I learned a lot I didn’t know before.”
“A new food I tried was squash, and it tasted like candy!”
Parents love the program too:
- “For my son to actually experience the planning, preparation, serving and enjoyment of a banquet for 120 people was extraordinary. I have never seen him so proud of himself.”
“We loved the process that the kids worked through to reach the end result. You taught them about that "balance" in life that we all too often misplace.”
“My child is even more determined to eat healthy foods and to try new things. He also gained a greater appreciation for all of the social benefits that come with sitting down to dinner with your family and friends to enjoy food and time together.”
Press for Kids Cooking Green
"The activity in the kitchen is dizzying: tablecloths are being spread, places set, drinks poured, centerpieces ... centered. Behind the kitchen door, steady hands put the finishing touches on dinner, tossing local greens with Brussels sprouts and dried cranberries and sprinkling scratch-made spinach and egg pasta with fresh parmesan. Cranberry oatmeal cookies, just taken from the oven, are placed on trays.
It's a colorful farm to table menu that most any restaurant would be proud of – and it's all being prepared and served by 10-year olds."
Read the rest...
"Our Heroes this month, Liza Connolly and Lori Deliso, were tired of the grumbling and wanted to do something. These two ladies, who are professionally trained chefs and each work closely with their local farmers market, saw what their children’s schools were preparing for lunch, and were upset. “School Lunch was one of my first ‘activist’ things,” says Liza, who started her activism by helping to add a garden to her child’s school. She quickly discovered how tough change was going to be, “…in public schools it’s harder to include stuff like gardens when there are tests. " Read the rest...
"Kids who attended a recent free Kids Cooking Green workshop at the Lexington Farmers’ Market got a taste of summer and a lot of great information about fun and healthy eating. Dietician Joy McCallum, who specializes in pediatric nutrition, talked with kids about eating a rainbow of colorful foods. The kids learned that peppers alone, grow in colors from red, orange, yellow to green, and offer a burst of color and flavor on their plate." Read the rest...
HEALTHY LESSONS: Lori Deliso of Lexington is in her sixth year helping direct Kids Cooking Green, a hands-on, educational outreach program of the Lexington Farmers Market that teaches students how to select locally grown food and then prepare it in the kitchen.
A recent award from All-Clad Metalcrafters, in conjunction with Share Our Strength and Partnership for a Healthier America, enables participants to prepare their creations on professional grade equipment. Each of the five donated cookware kits includes an induction burner, saute pan, two smaller sauce pans, mixing bowls, measuring cups, a cutting board, knife, tongs, and utensils. Local classes take place in Arlington, Bedford, Lexington, and Wellesley, as well as Medford and Wilmington.
Read the rest...
"Kids, start your blenders! Organizing a party for 55 hungry guests is no easy task, especially when you are 10 years old! Throw the challenge of having the menu consist of only foods that are grown locally, and the fact that the menu must be nutritionally balanced and you have a real life challenge. The students are part of a 4 week, after school Recreation Department Program called Kids Cooking Green, held at the Job Lane Elementary School.
The program aims to introduce kids to the importance of eating locally grown foods, and empower them with the knowledge that their choices can make a difference in their own health, and in the health of their environment while learning life long cooking skills, and having fun." Read the rest...
"The locavore movement may be synonymous with green, but it was the flavors of the great blue that were on the menu at this week’s seafood-inspired Kids Cooking Green dinner.
On Monday, Oct. 17, Chef Tiger, executive chef at the New England Aquarium, led a team of 23 fifth-graders in preparing and serving a three-course meal to more than 100 people at the Estabrook School." Read the rest...
"In his early years on daytime television, David Letterman did a hilarious bit where he led his viewers on a tour of a New York City farm, which consisted of a grass strip in midtown Manhattan with boxes of frozen food “growing” in neat rows.
It’s a joke that Liza Connolly ’84 would find compelling. Cofounder of Kids Cooking Green in suburban Lexington, Massachusetts, Connolly wants her students to understand that America’s food heritage is more about the juicy, sweet apple grown from a tree in a neighborhood orchard than the frozen lima bean snagged from a big-box store in a strip mall. Read the rest...
Now in their fifth year, Kids Cooking Green charges $175 for fifteen hours of class and a dinner for a family of five. The five-week programs are offered twice a year in five suburban schools and through three recreation programs. Their focus is on healthy foods, local agriculture, and eating seasonally. Kids dig into the ingredients and get their hands dirty…which is essential, says Liza.
“In the first class,” she explains, “we’re cutting up local apples and cheese for a snack. Then we make fresh pasta.” Their handmade raviolis are sent home and shared with their family. And because the kids have bought into the process, they push for the same kinds of foods at home. That’s when shopping choices begin to shift.
Says Liza, “Parents make changes when their kids are preaching.”
She and Deliso hope to expand the program to at-risk children in Boston. Grant writing is time consuming. But her passion is strong and her understanding personal.
“The only things I have ever learned in my life I have done with my hands. Now,” Liza adds, “we’re teaching kids to listen to their bodies.”—M.H.B.
First-Hand Experiences: This week we have a special feature article about our own Lexington school childrens' recent experiences at Codman Community Farms written by Liza Connolly, co-founder of Kids Cooking Green:
"A "warm" and sunny February day and a perfectly chilly March day, providing solid mud, offered Kids Cooking Green's 38 students from Fiske and Bowman surprisingly great weather for their recent field trips to Codman Community Farms in Lincoln, MA.
On one visit, the cows taught us the value of being flexible, as 4 of them escaped, demanding the farmer's attention..." Read the rest...
With sated bellies, our pack of kids were herded down the stairs towards the sheep barn. Alec, the farmer could hardly get a word in edgewise, as the sheep were hollering and bleating with excitement; it feels earthy, chaotic and unruly in there.
Our stop in the goat barn was more soothing, as the goats proved to be very dog-like, following the children around and nudging them with their noses when more attention was desired. Kids fed the goats stacks of hay and scratched under their silky chins. The male, who has a pen all to himself as he is kept for breeding, was really funny... doing little reindeer like leaps to show how macho he was.
The hearty breeds of pigs on the farm were typically pig like- sloshing in the mud, pushing each other out of the way with a shoulder and grunt. It is really hard to drag kids away from a smelly pig pen. Wide-eyed, they glared at the pig's fascinating movements, unabashed messiness and massiveness of their bellies. One student from Bowman commented, "I really enjoyed seeing the 800 pound pig! It was so amusing watching him walk around and mess with the other pigs." A few girls acknowledged feeling guilty for eating pork a moment before.
Alas, this is one of the reasons Kids Cooking Green emphasizes farm visits as a part of our program. We, as a country, are protected from the reality of how our food is grown, raised, processed, slaughtered and brought to market. Kids in our classes are exposed to farm life, taught about the benefits of livestock grazing on a variety of grasses vs. the corn and grain feed of conventional cows. Cooking and eating meat at the farm gives kids the opportunity to taste the difference, as well as draw their own conclusions about the meat they are eating. One of these students did return home and mention she might like to be a vegetarian.
The finale of our visit was being laughed at by the turkeys while learning about the grazing cows, recently returned to their field. An 11-year-old boy, from Lincoln, appeared out of nowhere, scampered up and over the cow fence to join Alec in the pasture. Apparently, any one is welcome to come and help feed the animals and collect eggs. Envy washed over our students faces. I left wishing there was a farm across the street from my house, so my 11-year-old son could take a much needed break from the pressures of homework, to find solace in a goat barn, in the smells of hay, and the gentle nudges of a 4-month-old kid.