Steps for planting your school's edible garden

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Steps for planting your school's edible garden

You know, one of the really important things we have to teach our children is seasonality. You know, we now go to the grocery store and pull foods out, you can go to any grocery store and every single fruit and vegetable on the planet is there. It may have a very short season wherever you are, but it's right there and you can buy it. So what are we teaching our children? We're teaching our children that there is no seasonality, that is doesn't matter where food comes from, that you can't tell where it comes from. We've taught them that in the middle of the winter, if you live in Colorado like I do, that you should have raspberries and that's really wrong, it's unsustainable for the planet, the fossil fuels that takes to fly raspberries from Chile or whatever, to put them on a kid's plate in February makes no sense, it's a really bad lesson. So when I talk to people about school gardens, I say plant what is in season in your place at that time. Now the challenge with school gardens is, you have to plant them usually in the spring and then all summer, there's no school, maybe there's summer school and it gets harvested in the fall, so for us in Colorado, that's a really short growing season. So one of the things we try and do in the early part of the season is plant little lettuces and arugula and things like that, that grow really quickly, so the kids can actually see it grow. And the other thing right before school ends is to plant things like corn and beans and squash, maybe the three sisters, so when the kids come back to school, they can see it growing and harvested then. So really depends where you are, but what I really suggest is some fast growing things and some long growing things, so you can see the beginning of the process and also the harvest.

Watch Ann Cooper's video on Steps for planting your school's edible garden...


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Ann Cooper

Founder: Chef Ann Foundation

Chef Ann Cooper is a celebrated author, chef, educator, and enduring advocate for better food for all children. In a nation where children are born with shorter estimated life expectancies than their parents because of diet-related illness, Ann is a relentless voice of reform by focusing on the links between food, family, farming and children's health and wellness.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, Ann has been a chef for more than 30 years. She has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Time Magazine and has appeared on NPR's 'Living on Earth,' ABC's Nightline, CNN, PBS' To The Contrary, the CBS Morning Show and many other media outlets. She has been honored by SLOW Food USA, selected as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and awarded an honorary doctorate from SUNY Cobleskill for her work on sustainable agriculture.

Ann is the author of four books: Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children (2006), In Mother's Kitchen: Celebrated Women Chefs Share Beloved Family Recipes (2005), Bitter Harvest: A Chef's Perspective on the Hidden Dangers in the Foods We Eat and What You Can do About It (2000) and A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen: The Evolution of Women Chefs (1998). She is past president of The American Culinary Federation of Central Vermont, and past president and board member of Women's Chefs and Restaurateurs. She also served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, a Congressional appointment, and was an Executive Committee member of Chefs Collaborative - all in an effort to raise awareness about the value of healthful, seasonal, organic, and regional foods.


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