Are Carrots the new Cheetos?

Summer Feeding is now in full swing here in Northeast Georgia. During the school year, children are guaranteed at least one full meal a day at school. After school ends, the security of having that one meal diminishes, which is why Summer Feeding programs are so important to local communities. The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia delivers a lunch time meal daily to 13 locations in the Athens area.

Today, Garnet Ridge participants in the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Summer Feeding and Food 2 Kids 360 programs got a fresh treat in addition to their usual bagged lunch. Kids sampled fresh local and organic carrots and broccoli, thanks to the generosity of Collective Harvest, a local cooperative of five farms in the Athens area that runs a seasonal CSA. Some kids ate the veggies plain raw, and some opted to dip their raw veggies in hummus (from Daily Co-op) or a homemade miso and apple cider vinegar dressing. As the kids tried these fresh items, they learned about what part of the plant they were eating, and how it grows. The tasters also got a veggie sticker and a coloring sheet (with which they could color the veggies they just tried).

The carrots were by far the more popular veggie (not to knock the broccoli–the broccoli got plenty of takers, too!). The carrots were “rainbow” variety, so they came as yellow, purple, red, or orange. The kids loved choosing their carrot by its color, and chowed down on the root vegetable until only the stems and leaves remained.

IMG_5660

Kids at Garnet Ridge got to taste local and organic carrots and broccoli. Notice the bag of Cheetos in the upper left hand corner…the carrots won out the bag of Cheetos!

Here are some of the highlights from the tasting experience:

  • One taster came to the table with a bag of Cheetos. Upon seeing the carrots, she put her bag of Cheetos aside and opted for a fresher and more natural orange colored food. Seeing a kid choose a fresh veggie over a processed food never fails to warm our hearts!
  • Another taster was enjoying his carrot greatly, but said “I can’t eat any more of it because it’s too hard.” We then talked about the importance of eating fresh crunchy veggies because it helps keep our gum muscles strong, which in turn keeps our teeth healthy. He happily finished his carrot, and then grabbed another.
  • A very young taster hopped around the yard with his purple carrot and shouted “I’m eating like a bunny!”
  • Some tasters were reluctant to try the carrots and broccoli, but the excitement of their peers reeled them in, and they even liked the veggies in the end.

We also brought a box full of miscellaneous early summer veggies (cabbages, broccoli, carrots, kale, green beans, and potatoes), again from Collective Harvest. Families picked what they wanted from the box to take home with them.

IMG_5661Families went home with fresh, local and organic produce from Collective Harvest.

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