This year, kindergarten and first-grade students at Bains Lower Elementary in St. Francisville became members of The Green Thumb Club.
Each month, they attended nutrition and school garden programs led by Layne Langley, LSU Agricultural Center area nutrition agent. The children attended the programs through their Play 30 time led by Play 30 coach Lanya Mayer.
At the start of the school year, the children prepared beds and planted radishes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage and snow peas. They were able to harvest and taste radish and carrots. The lettuce and snow peas didn’t do so well. But the radish and carrots produced enough for all the kindergartners and first graders to sample.
Because of the rain, the cabbage stopped growing and couldn’t be harvested or tasted. So they were recently pulled out to make room for new plants. During the school year, the children planted squash, bell peppers, more radish, potatoes and eggplant.
Besides planting, watering and weeding, Langley taught the children about the MyPlate, the five food groups, physical activity and the importance of breakfast. Youth played games and participated in activities that reinforced the nutrition topics. Youth also took home nutrition tip sheets to their parents and guardians.
Having an abundance of carrots in the garden, Mayer and Brent Didier, adaptive physical education teacher at Bains Elementary, prepared homemade vegetable soup, which was served on a cool March day.
The children were able to see the ingredients for making the homemade vegetable soup — carrots, bell pepper, turnips, onion, corn, peas, potatoes, tomatoes and tomato sauce, pasta and beef meat.
In early May, Langley will wrap up the nutrition and school garden programs with a watermelon relay and watermelon tasting for the kindergartners and first graders courtesy of the Feliciana Master Gardeners.
For information about nutrition programs in West Feliciana, contact Layne Langley at (225) 635-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.