Cooking lesson in the classroom transforms student-grown veggies

 By Special to the Intermountain Catholic
SALT LAKE CITY — Saint Vincent de Paul Parish School has been developing a community garden for the past four seasons where students, parents, and teachers work together to till the land, and plant and harvest the crops. When harvested in the fall, these crops are donated to the Saint Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in downtown Salt Lake City to help make meals for the homeless.
This past season, the garden took on a new educational component, titled the Lettuce Be Healthy Project, where middle-school students not only prepared the land and tended to the crops, but also learned healthy and nutritional ways to cook with vegetables.
Traditionally, the garden’s crops have consisted of mostly squash, zucchini and pumpkins. That was expanded this past spring to include carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuces and herbs. In fall, the crops were harvested, with a sampling of the vegetables and herbs prepared in a cooking and tasting demonstration class taught by Aimee Toner, a Saint Vincent de Paul School parent and owner of Aimee’s Home Cookin’ Spice Rubs. The students learned how to cook fresh produce in a healthy way and made great-tasting kale chips and vegetable dishes.
The remaining harvest was donated to the soup kitchen to help feed the homeless.
“It was a great experience,” Toner said. “The kids were fully engaged and excited to be cooking with their hands. They really stepped it up and got into the demonstrations and tasting the fresh foods we prepared. I would love to do this again.”
Saint Vincent de Paul School thanks Whole Foods for their Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant given for the Lettuce Be Healthy Project, and Intermountain Healthcare for their support of the community garden.
Courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul School