Last year when Chesnut’s Ecology Club was formed, we ended the year with a grand finish: winning a grant to fund a farmer’s stand and chef demo during Field Day. Where once cotton candy had been served, now the children were snacking on freshly baked pizzas with Chesnut Garden’s herbs and local, organically grown arugula, onions and strawberries.
One of the questions often asked in a grant application is how your organization plans to sustain the new program or facility. Turns out that the parents, teachers, students and staff so enjoyed this new healthy, fresh snack, that PTA added a line item for it as they planned this year’s budget. Special thanks to PTA President Ann Laffoon and PTA Vice President of Ways and Means Elizabeth Davis for supporting healthy eating at Chesnut. Beyond Field Day food, these parents also made Chesnut’s Wellness Team an official entity last summer, which gave parents and teachers a platform to introduce new health, nutrition and fitness initiatives this year.
Having Decatur’s Nectar food truck serve fresh fruit smoothies at Field Day perfectly culminated our year. After appearing in our new spring and fall Farm to School nutrition lessons, “Tasting a Rainbow of Plants” and “Eat Real First, Second Read Labels,” Super Kid returned to remind our students of the health benefits of eating fresh, multi-colored fruit. Students, teachers, staff and parents chose between an orange smoothie (with banana, mango, pineapple and orange) and a red smoothie (with strawberry, blueberry, banana and apple).
Though almost all agreed that the smoothies were delicious — “It tastes like ice cream, except it’s good for you!” — there were several chanted arguments about which color was best. “ORANGE!” “RED!” “ORANGE!” “RED!”
Fifth grade teacher and after-school step team sponsor Ms. Radden created an impromptu routine for the smoothies: “These smoothies are the best. The best of all the rest!”
Best of all, Wellness Team Co-Chairs Angela Renals and Jessica Spencer were asked by many students, “Which one is better for you?” “Which one has less sugar?” “How much sugar is in this smoothie?” “Which one’s super powers are better?” and “Can we have seconds?”
If we have smoothies again next year, we will definitely plan a larger quantity to make sure everyone gets their fill. Sadly, the last customers, Ms. Erbesfield’s second graders, missed out on the Field Day smoothies because we ran short. When they came out to the Chesnut Garden the following week, we made sure to bring them generous helpings of mango strawberry banana smoothie to make it up to them.