“More kale, please!”kale

That’s what a group of first through third graders at Stagg Elementary shouted after trying kale for the first time. The students are participating in the Illinois Farm to School Network’s eight-week after-school program.

As you know, Seven Generations Ahead is deeply involved in the Illinois Farm to School Network, a statewide organization that works to bring local foods sourcing and agricultural education into the schools.

Since beginning my internship with SGA, I’ve been working with Lydia Mills, SGA’s Farm to School Network coordinator, on an after-school program at Stagg, a Chicago Public School on the city’s South Side. We’ve also worked hard with the first through third graders there to implement a gardening program at the school, using SGA’s “Sow and Grow” curriculum.

We’re happy to report that these students are even more thrilled about getting their hands dirty in the garden and trying new, and as they would describe it, “nutritious and delicious” foods.

Along with learning about gardening, every week students participate in Mindful Tastings that introduce them to particular to foods that they don’t typically eat or have access to. On this particular day, kale — the low-calorie leafy green known for its potent vitamin A, C, and K nutrients — was the food of choice.

This session ended with Lydia and me leaving the school smiling from ear to ear because we were so inspired by the children’s joy in discovering a wholesome, local, and new food.

Rachelle Reenders is a Dominican University MBA candidate and dietetic intern currently working at Seven Generations Ahead on the Farm to School Network.