Getting kids interested in where food comes from, growing their own food and cooking it are some of the best ways to set them up for a happier, healthier life. Turns out Farm to school and school garden programs across the country are helping to do just that!
Schools across the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, are serving more local foods on the lunch line and getting kids into the garden to grow, pick, taste and learn about food. According to the most recent USDA Farm to School Census there are over 4,300 school districts serving up farm to school to over 23 millions students nationwide. Add to that the 5,000+ school gardens tracked by the Edible Schoolyard Project.
Farm to school and school garden programs create a kind of magic that cultivates more than just produce. Gardens grow culinary curiosity, community, and connection to place. This is good news for farmers, too. When kids learn the taste and value of locally grown foods early in life, it ensures our farmers prosper now and into the future.
Here is a recipe for a healthy snack that lets even the youngest kids in your life show off their budding kitchen skills:
“Garden Chef Pesto”
This recipe come from the Garden Chef kids at Sabin Elementary School and their teacher, Corbin Lichtinger. Here is a 1 minute video we did making it in celebration of National Farm to School Month which happens every October!
- 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- 2 cups firmly packed kale
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbs - ½ cup olive oil
- Add minced garlic and hazelnuts to mortar and begin smashing. If you don't have a mortar and pestle you can use a blender or food processor.
- Wash, dry and rip kale into tiny pieces.
- Add the kale to mortar and continue smashing.
- Add Parmesan cheese
- Add salt and lemon juice
- Slowly add the oil, take turns mixing the pesto with the pestle
This is an easy recipe takes about 10 minutes to make and you can eat Chef Garden Pesto any time of year. Try it on a cracker, with a fresh carrot, or on top of pasta or other whole grain.
See the video below of Corbin and our Sabin Garden friends talking about their school garden and watch how they make Chef Garden Pesto. And if you want to learn more about Farm to School and school gardens and how you can get involved, check out the National Farm to School Network.
There are lots of variations of pesto. What is your favorite recipe for pesto? Tell us about them in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Video and article revised and re-posted with permission from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.