Today was another volunteer day for me with Spoons Across America, a great non-profit organization dedicated to educating our children, teachers and families about the benefits of healthy eating through an innovative program in partnership with select NYC schools.
Today’s lesson centered on food culture and agriculture for the 4th grade. They learned about 3-sister farming – an American Indian tradition of sustainable farming with 3 specific crops – corn, beans and squash and the nutrients supplied by the combination of the 3 crops, but it didn’t end with just a “lesson”. They had hands-on experience!
The activity started with the kids breaking out into groups where they had an opportunity to taste all of the ingredients that would go into their 3-sister tacos with black beans and squash. They were encouraged to name the flavor and texture of each ingredient (beans, zucchini, queso fresco, cilantro, lime, olive oil, salt, and garlic powder) without the use of “yuck” as a description! Hilarious!!
The zucchini was chopped and sautéed and corn tortillas were warmed, then each table combined all of the ingredients using a recipe card and each kid had an opportunity to mash the combined ingredients into the filling and stuff their own corn tortilla. Voila! 3-Sister tacos! Healthy and nutritious. They were encouraged to recreate the recipe at home with their families and share the lessons they learned about the tradition and nutrition!
I love volunteering for Spoons – it’s really such a joy to watch these kids work as a team to create a culinary masterpiece while learning about culture, traditions, nutrition and sustainable farming. Can’t wait for next time!