Ask around and hear stories from people and their favourite dishes when they grew up. Most would consist of starches, meat and a wack load of sugar. I remember growing up eating rice with brown sugar and butter, Wednesday was “patat dag” (french fries day) and vegetables not consumed unless they were well hidden. I did become more interested in food (and vegetables) when I made my lunch for high school, but it wasn’t until I was 18 to discover new cuisines, tastes and dishes.
The beauty of food is, that everyone has a history with it.
Growing chefs are in the game to make vegetables exciting for kids. In the first lesson, we plant seeds with different kinds of lettuces, sprouts and beans. The following lessons we watch them grow, learn about tastes, try new foods and share our knowledge. You’ll be surprised by what they bring to the table. Then it is time for the harvest, and we create a delicious stir-fry and power salad.
The classes are hosted by chefs, nutritionists, student teachers and anyone who likes to put on a Jedi-chef coat on and persuade kids to the veg side.
I volunteered years ago, when I just moved to Vancouver, and again this year in the spring. It is incredible to see how people react to this educational form of advertising. Within a few classes, most kids try vegetables that they never saw before and share their favourite ones. I loved to check their lunch boxes and saw how excited they were with their crunchy cucumber slices, cauliflower or broccoli they brought from home. The classroom takes care of the garden With scheduled watering, singing and observing any changes in the plants.
For the volunteers, it is fun! You meet like-minded people and feel like a rockstar the minute you enter the class. It is inspirational on so many levels. It feels good to be an influence in the eating habit of kids and teach them there is more than just mac and cheese and chicken strips. Besides the direct impact you can make, it is also great to see how the kids themselves influence eating habits at their home.
The support of Growing chefs is top-notch. With a binder that gives you step for step instructions and emails before every lesson with tips, tricks or alternatives. Growing chefs have an incredible system of support that makes you as a volunteer most efficient.
Become the Jedi-Chef and join the veg side
All I can say is that it is worth your time, and you will make a huge impact. Go to Growingchefs.ca, learn more about them and sign up for next season!
I like volunteering, and whenever I have time, I sign up for a program. You can read more about my experience at Flavours of Hope by following the link.