If you think kids and veggies don’t mix, think again. The students at Ocean Knoll Elementary School are proof that children can, in fact, learn to love the green stuff. Just ask third-grader Kaya Singleton.
“I think kids who don’t like vegetables are not being very adventurous, and if they tried them, they would like them,” she says.
That’s music to the ears of Ocean Knoll Principal Angelica Lopez. For several months she’s been part of a team working to bring kids at her school to that very conclusion.
Through a joint effort with the Sage Garden Project, Healthy Day Partners, and the Encinitas Union School District’s Food Services, the children at Ocean Knoll were able to grow vegetables in a garden on their campus. Wednesday afternoon, students got to enjoy the fruits — or rather, vegetables — of their labors: The salad bar at the school cafeteria that day featured the approximately 20 pounds of lettuce they harvested, and kale chips made from the leafy greens their green thumbs were also responsible for.
“The best way to get kids involved in healthy eating is to involve them in the process from the seed to the table,” explains Kevin La Pittus, Director of Encinitas Union School District’s Food Services. “In this age group, they’re still developing their likes and dislikes, so we can have a positive impact.”
“It's great to see what can happen when you combine a district that is committed to bringing the best education to their students with a school that provides garden-based learning experiences,” adds Mim Michelove, co-founder of Healthy Day Partners and an Ocean Knoll parent. “This equation gives children the power to avoid being included in the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic while developing the tools to be responsible for their health, now and in the future. The kids can be proud of growing their skills…and a great lunch!"