December’s Farm Fresh Food Day events happened in all 4 Dexter Elementary schools, and allowed students to sample locally grown, roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs grown in the Creekside school garden. Students gave their reactions, including one survey decorated with the phrase “Potatoes Are Majestic”.
The potatoes were from Tantre Farm and Sunseed Farm and included an array of some familiar and some more rare varieties: Yukon Gold, Mountain Rose, Fingerling, and All Blue (a purple potato)! Many students were excited by the array of colors and had some interesting reactions to the flavor variations (one student noted that the purple potato seemed “spicy”. . . a unique reaction to a potato that still tastes like a potato despite its exciting color.)
Students were able to see a map of Michigan that showed the location of their school in relation to the 2 farms where the potatoes were grown. Our Farm to School Coordinator discussed the concept of “Food Miles” with students who took time to look at the map.
A group of students at Cornerstone Elementary were very interested in the idea that much of our produce comes from California, even though we can grow a lot of the same foods here in Michigan. The students then wondered, “Just how far away is California?” To point out that the potatoes they just ate have far fewer food miles than the ones from California, our FtS Coordinator said “California would be waaaay over there,” pointing to the other side of the room. The students then proceeded to scamper across the room, stopping about 50 feet away and screeching, “So this is California?” “Yeah! Sure!” said the FtS Coordinator. “And think of how much more energy it took you to run all the way over there compared to what it takes to put your finger from the farm spot on the map to the school!”
Students also watched a slideshow of images and information about the farms that grew the potatoes, nutrition facts about potatoes, and information on how to grow potatoes.
Students at Cornerstone and Bates voted “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” after trying the samples and their results revealed a significant positive response:
Students at Wylie and Creekside were asked to fill out surveys about their reactions to the samples. Their reactions also showed overall positive opinions of the potatoes and the idea of them being served in school lunch. Here are some of the results from their surveys:
Wylie (grades 3-4)-
Some notable comments from the students included:
“Potatoes are majestic” – 4th Grader
“It was amazing! It tasted like french fries but healthier!” – 4th grader
” I tried these before and I didn’t like them, but now I do because they’re good.” – 3rd Grader
“I want more” – 3rd Grader
“little sour” – 3rd Grader
Creekside (grades 5-6)-
Notable quotes from students at Creekside include:
“This is really healthy which will help lunches.” – 5th Grader
“2nds?” – 5th Grader
“It was tasty town.” – 5th Grader
“YUM! Smelled strange.” – 5th Grader
“With Ketchup its like healthier french fries!” – 6th Grader
“They are my life!” – 6th Grader
“This is America we don’t need anything healthy anymore” – 6th Grader
“This is America! No one eat healthy.” – 6th Grader
As the comments from last month showed us, the peanut gallery is joyfully provoked by the survey response format. Overall, the numbers showed that the students had an overwhelmingly positive response to the farm fresh potato samples. We are excited to see what future survey results reveal about students’ opinions about farm fresh foods in their schools.