Tag Archives: school food

green gardens growing in East London schoolyard

21 Sep
Sixteen years ago, Alice Waters partnered with the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, and their school community to start an edible garden, whose purpose was to create an experiential learning space that delved into various school subjects. Through strong community support, Alice Waters spearheaded the transformation of a concrete playground into an edible schoolyard, and in turn started a local food revolution.Since then, many schools have followed suit, encouraging the growth of school gardens, greenhouses, cooking programs and gardening initiatives all across the country, and world.

Across the pond, in an East London school community, shoots and similar ideas are sprouting. Spearheaded by parent, Cassie Liversidge, the Chisenhale Primary School has grown it’s very own edible playground.

The playground boasts a bounty of fresh fruits, veggies, and even wheat, which they mill in class, and transform into fresh loaves of bread, in collaboration with the “lessons in loaf” curriculum. Some of their local produce is used in their cafeteria, so that the children can eat their very own harvested food at lunchtime.

The children all have a hand in planting, weeding, harvesting and even selling! By smartly partnering with the Royal Horticultural Society Campaign for School Gardening, School Food Matters, and Waitrose, they are bringing the community together all in the name of good food education.

For more information on the Chisenhale Primary School edible playground, check out the Edible Schoolyard’s website here. To hear Cassie speak about the transformation she helped spark, watch her inspiring video here, friend her facebook page, and follow her on twitter.

Child Nutrition Act – Call now – Last chance

15 Nov
Please read the following letter from Amie Hamlin of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF), and click on the link to reach your representative. The NYCHSF is a statewide nonprofit that works to improve the health and well-being of New York’s students by advocating for healthy plant-based foods, including local and organic where possible, farm to school programs, school gardens, the elimination of unhealthy competitive foods in all areas of the school (not just the cafeteria), comprehensive nutrition policy, and education to create food- and health-literate students.
They work in all of our best interest!
Dear School Food Advocates,
Congress is reconvening today for the “Lame duck” session. We’ve heard from DC that the House may not return for the last week of legislative session after Thanksgiving, and so they will likely vote on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (the Child Nutrition Bill) as part of an omnibus bill during the first days of this week. In light of this, it is important to contact your Congressional Representative right away.
We recommend that you ask your Representative to “Please pass the child nutrition bill along with a restoration to the SNAP (food stamps) cut.” The SNAP cut is part of how Congress plans to pay for the Child Nutrition Act. We don’t want to diminish children’s ability to access good food at school or at home. You can find your Representative’s contact information here.
While we are very disappointed at the low amount of funding for this bill (it adds only six cents more per meal, when First Lady Michelle Obama requested 18.5 cents and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand requested 70 cents), it will still make many positive changes to the school food environment, and thus we do want to see it pass. Will chicken nuggets be banned?The answer is no, so even after the bill passes, we still have a lot of work to do. Ultimately, it will take each of you at your district level to create the change we want to see.
We will keep you informed of any relevant news from DC through the week… and look forward to celebrating a hopefully positive outcome for students at school and at home!
Best wishes,
Amie Hamlin

What’s the secret to making perfect rice?

23 Sep

Masaru Emoto –  is one of our favorite heroes at Butter Beans. He is a Japanese scientist who has studied water extensively. He froze water, and then discovered that there is a twenty second-ish window of time in the melting process that water does, (looking under a high-powered microscope), either form crystals (think of a beautiful snowflake), or not. He discovered that water that had been filtered through the Earth, was able to make crystals, and that polluted water, could not.

Fascinated, he travelled all over Japan (and later the world) testing the water as he went. Then he made an incredible discovery. He started to talk to the water. He found that water that could not make crystals – when thanked with gratitude, was able to make crystals! Thank you. I love you. Mr. Emoto proves that water responds to our words, and our thoughts.

At Butter Beans, we decided to carry out an experiment that was carried out all over Japan thanks to Mr. Emoto. We cooked rice, and then put a cup each in two containers. We attached a yellow paper clip to one container of rice, and a red paper clip to the other. We put both on a table, and came in dutifully day after day, and talked, or simply looked at the rice with thoughts in our mind, and waited to see what, if anything (beyond decomposition) would happen.

To the rice with the yellow paperclip, we gave much gratitude. Thank you. You are beautiful. I love you…

To the rice with the red paperclip, we gave quite the opposite. You are a fool. You are stupid. I don’t like you…

A month passed. The pictures below show what happened. The rice with the yellow paperclip – grew pink mold, and when we tried to shake the cup,  the rice grains stuck together. Pink mold was all there was for a long while. Eventually there was a small black point of mold, but it was mostly pink.

The rice with the red paperclip, was clearly different. Black mold appeared rather quickly. When we tried to shake the cup, the rice grains remained separated, so they bounced around plenty while we shook. No pink mold at all.

If rice responds to our thoughts and intentions, so does all of our food that contains water, and as we ourselves are made mostly of water, so do we respond to thoughts and words. We at Butter Beans, are pleased to serve food that truly is, seasoned with love.

This is a great experiment to do with kids at home. If you do carry this one out, share your findings – we’d love to hear them.