When many of us can get produce from all over the world at any time of year -- and others have limited exposure to fresh produce -- it often takes a school garden, hands-on experiences with planting and harvesting, and experiences with preparing and eating in-season foods for children to understand and appreciate seasonal produce.
Knowledge and appreciation for seasonality is a core outcome of FoodPrints, underlined by the DC Environmental Literacy Framework, Common Core Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards -- all which expect students to recognize patterns, such as the cycle of the seasons.
Patterns is one of the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: "Patterns exist everywhere - in regularly occurring shapes or structures and in repeating events and relationships. For example, patterns are discernible in the symmetry of flowers and snowflakes, the cycling of the seasons, and the repeated base pairs of DNA."
In FoodPrints classes, students are introduced to seasonally appropriate foods each month. They grow these same foods in their school gardens, and use them in investigations and lessons aligned to the curriculum and standards.
Students in younger grades understand how plants change over time, how the garden changes over time and why. FoodPrints teachers encourage students to observe and describe -- both by drawing and writing -- what plants and animals need to survive.
As part of this lesson, 1st graders at School Within School drew their favorite fruit or vegetable in each season:
- “We support local farmers when we shop at farmers markets."
- "Buying local cuts back on cost/fuel from trucks driving across the country.”
- "There’s less chemicals and pesticides used if the produce doesn't have to travel as far."
- "Produce tastes fresher!"