There are days – after sixteen hours on your feet, a broken robocoup and a late arriving two-top demanding a well-done steak – when food is just not fun. Our day with Edible Schoolyard NOLA was not one of them.
Tasked with throwing the first-ever “Food Field Day” at Charter Middle School, we worked closely with former CulinaryCorps alum and current Edible Schoolyard Chef/Forager, April, to create a day of culinary exploration and excitement.
The Edible Schoolyard program is firmly rooted at Samuel Green Charter School, a few miles away from Charter. There at Green, murals abound, broccoli plants peak up from landscaped mounds and giant Weber grills remind everyone just why growing your own food can be so great. Having just opened in early September, Charter Middle School does not yet have any of the perks its sister school does.
To help launch the concept of eating healthy, colorful and tasty food, CulinaryCorps stepped in as the expert chefs. It is amazing what authority a white coat and some checked trousers can pull. The Field Day was designed around 5 food challenges and each grade that came to participate was divided into 5 teams accordingly. After completing each challenge, the team would get points for their performance, the one with most at the end of the event winning a $5 token to the Crescent City Farmers Market.
Not having been introduced to the Edible concept before, we were unsure of how engaged they would be with our eclectic activities. To our surprise, they couldn’t get enough. Drawing, tasting, matching, memorizing and creating like culinary champs, the laughter was as plentiful as the lessons. When the final whistle blew, the lunch we got to share with them was a reward all of its own. And the number of times we were asked to return again the next day, a reason to make it through our next split shift.