Transformation Tuesday: So Long Apple Corps Members!

Our pizza spread provided by Tutta Bella for our End of the Year Celebration!

Our pizza spread provided by Tutta Bella for our End of the Year Celebration!

Today marks the final day of service for many (7 of 10) of our Apple Corps Members! Of course, being the food and nutrition focused team we celebrated a year well done with a delicious pizza party provided by Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria this past Friday. We had a great time reflecting over stories of service and sharing the variety of next steps each member has ahead of them.

Although it is bittersweet to have to say goodbye to yet another fantastic cohort of Americorps members, each is moving on to great new adventures. Amongst our team this year, four members will enter graduate school in the fall to study urban planning, public health, nutrition, and health promotions. Several members will be traveling this summer [and beyond] either by foot [backpacking through Europe] or by bike [cross country adventure]. We have members who will continue their work with youth in different capacities, with one member committed to a second year in her current Apple Corps position! And the cherry on top of our “what now?” member update: our most artistic and creative Apple Corps member will begin an intensive year-long program to study the art of circus performance.

It seems appropriate to end another year with a “Transformation Tuesday” not only because our members have grown so much during their 10.5 months of service, but also because they demonstrated a true commitment to transforming the communities in which they worked. By challenging the injustices that affect health and wellness within Seattle our members have worked in community to build greater access to health and nutrition.

As for the Apple Corps Program, we are excited to welcome a new team of members in September/October! We also wish to thank each of our 2013-2014 members for dedicating themselves to serving their community and working towards building a more equitable and just society.

How Low Can You Go?: Concord International’s Compost Challenge!

By Kelly Shilhanek, School Based Nutrition Educator

Earlier in May, Concord students enthusiastically volunteered their stomachs and mouths to take part in the How Long Can We Go? No-Waste challenge. The premise was to try to reduce fruit and vegetable waste among each grade level over the course of the week, in order to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption and raise awareness about the environmental impacts associated with food waste. Besides individually challenging students to clear their plates for the sake of their bodies and the earth, the grade with the lowest amount of waste per student was awarded a smoothie party at the end of the week.

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The 5th grade Green Team was an instrumental part of helping the contest run smoothly. Each lunch, two 5th graders would help students sort their refuse and weigh the contents of our fruit and vegetable waste bucket. Then, we used a bar graph to illustrate our data in the cafeteria. Students got really excited about the graphs—they reminded me of live-stream coverage of a sporting event, except this was confined to roughly 400 viewers, who were all participants as well. Though there were a few hiccups—allegations of “sabotage” against the 5th graders, and reports that a few students ate so quickly that they had to go to the nurse’s office—the majority of students were much more mindful about consuming the fruits and vegetables they chose from the salad bar. Though this is not backed up by data, I saw a substantially greater number of empty trays last week at lunchtime than usual.

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When Thursday came to a close, the numbers came in—Concord students had reduced their fruit and vegetable waste by 30% from Tuesday to Thursday, and the fifth graders won a smoothie party with a mere 0.05 pounds of waste per student per day (Kindergarteners, in comparison, weighed in at 0.13 pounds/student each day). However, the total numbers perhaps tell a different story—even with the challenge, 132.5 pounds of fruits and vegetables were wasted in four days. It is important to continue to raise awareness about food waste to students and their families because so much of the food in our system—whether in schools, hospitals, restaurants, or even your fridge—end up in compost or the land fill, instead of in our stomachs. Nice work Concord, but let’s continue our efforts!

Marketeers in Training

 

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Minty Fresh!

Last weekend Sand Point Elementary honored Earth Day with a community-wide celebration. It was jam packed full of families, students, community members, art projects, scavenger hunts, games, and delicious veggies! The highlight of the event (for me) was a student-led Farmer’s Market. A crew of dedicated student volunteers showed up early for the event to help harvest some delicious, fresh produce straight from the Sand Point garden. We collected and bundled up tons of nutritious kale, mustard greens, spinach, chives, mint, rosemary, flowers, and broccoli. The students then went to work setting up our display table to show off our beautiful bounty.

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Big bite of an apple to get ready to sell some produce!

The next task for our market vendors was to set prices for our produce. Students worked together to determine what a fair price for families armed with Sand Point ‘Squirrel Bucks’ would be.As soon as the clock struck 10am it was show time. Things got off to a slow start on this Saturday morning and my market team was getting a bit antsy. Though, sooner than later customers started trickling in and the Squirrel Bucks started piling up; before we knew it we needed to start harvesting more produce!

At the day’s end we sent families home with TONS of fresh veggies and collected over 100 Squirrel Bucks! As we were cleaning up our table one of the student vendors asked me if he could keep our Farmer’s Market sign. When I asked him what he planned to do with it he replied “I want to keep it so that one day when I open my own Farmer’s Market I can use it”.

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Pay day!