On October 24, kindergarteners visited McClelland’s organic farm in Petaluma. The field trip was part of our new Table to Farm food program. Prior to visiting the farm, students were introduced to pumpkins and various types of squash by our food program manager, Tali Biale. In Ms. Biale’s lesson she had girls identify foods that contain pumpkins and squash, then coordinated with Acre Gourmet (our food provider) to have delicious dishes appear in the lunchroom derived from those autumnal favorites. As part of the field experience, students had the opportunity to: select a pumpkin to take home, pet baby cows, and witness the milking process.
After the lesson and field trip, one kindergartener said, I’m very interested in squash now.
Ms. Biale, a Bay Area native, has worked with food in a plethora of ways, including: in a kitchen, on a farm, at farmers’ markets, and in after school programs. She seeks to show students how food connects to all these places and more.
We learn about food in the classroom, then taste it in the lunchroom. Food is a thread that connects all of us; it is a way to talk about culture and identity, as well as nutrition and the environment.
As part of her thoughtful work, Ms. Biale asked middle school students to share ways that our food program relates to The Hamlin School creed. Below is one response.
The Hamlin School’s food program connects to the creed in a thousand ways. My favorite is the responsibility that we have in the dining rooms. We are responsible for our food choice, food waste, and behavior while at the tables. For example, Hamlin now lets us choose our own food, which creates a new level of responsibility. We have to choose the food that will keep us going for the rest of the day, even if it means adding a little kale to our diets. We also have to make sure that the food we take is the food that we will eat. Taking food that we won’t eat does no favors to the Earth, or to the community.
At Hamlin, we want food to express our values on a daily basis. We look forward to planning more farm visits and growing this program over the course of the year.
Ms. Biale and a representative from Acre Gourmet will be speaking with parents on November 7, at 8:30a.m. in the EDR. To learn more about the food program at Hamlin, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/lunch-program