Painting the City Green
Contribute to edible schoolyards,with every babo purchase!
After college, I joined the Peace Corps, where I taught Paraguayan farmers the art and business of beekeeping so that they could earn additional income by selling honey. Besides teaching families how to harvest and sell their delicious product, I also explained the value of nutrition. Not only was beekeeping my focus, but I taught them how to grow new kinds of vegetables in their own garden patches. I would bring seeds from the capitol city, Asuncion (4 hours from my site), and together, we would plant them in the soil on their land, toting water from a nearby stream on a daily basis. The young women learned to cook recipes incorporating vegetables they had never tasted before like zucchini and spinach, rich in iron and vitamins. Educating children and teenagers about nutrition linked to the satisfaction of gardening became my prime focus, and this passion has continued to grow.
Now I live in New York City — a far cry from my rural years in Paraguay--and my interest in educating youngsters about food and determination to find the healthiest produce has developed into a whole new chapter.
As a loyal customer of urban greenmarkets, I am lucky enough to have one located directly across the street from my apartment building in downtown Manhattan. Amidst the excellent selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, and cheese, there is a young man who sells his wildflower honey and beeswax lip balm at his stand, which is also equipped with an observation hive where passersby can view the live bees hard at work. I am devoted to this neighborhood market, as well as the numerous others around this city. It's where my family does most of our grocery shopping.
I am also working on programs to help teach urban children how to grow vegetables. In 1996, Alice Waters (champion of the Obama's White House organic garden) started a program in San Francisco claiming unused land to build the city's first community garden. She based it on the 1992 Garden Project that taught prisoners how to garden, a practical, green program that continues to thrive. I love their motto: "We don't just grow plants; we grow people."
Babo Botanicals is pleased to announce a partnership with Edible Schoolyard NYC, an organization committed to bringing Alice Waters' vision to New York City public schools as an effective solution to our childhood obesity crisis. Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with public schools to build gardens and kitchen classrooms where children can engage in hands-on learning. Their goal is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and environment required to make healthier choices and change the way they eat for life.
Students who participate in Edible Schoolyard NYC's comprehensive program learn how sustainable, organic food choices can totally transform their health and the health of our planet. In the garden, students get their hands dirty learning how to grow a variety of organic fruits, vegetables and grains. Then students bring their harvest into the kitchen classroom where they come together to prepare, cook and share a seasonal, garden-fresh feast. This experiential education feeds more than just curious mouths. From kindergarten through the fifth grade, garden and kitchen classes are integrated into each grade level's academic curriculum all year round. Studies show that school-supported involvement with nature has a direct relationship with improved academic performance and increased preference for healthy food, like fruits and vegetables.
For more information, please go to Edible Schoolyard NYC