‘Eat Your Rainbow’ Graduation Celebrations
This year as part of our Essex-Hudson Hunger Relief and Heathy Eating Program, we held education sessions from January through May. In June we wrapped up the series of education sessions with graduation celebrations. Children from our programs in Newark, Jersey City, and East Orange came out to our Pittstown farm for the ceremonies. Each group made a lunch of rainbow vegetable pasta salad and fruit salad to enjoy with their families. The students were thrilled to be able to show off their chef skills to their parents and teachers and eagerly chopped fruits and vegetables to be shared in the family style meal.
After making lunch, the group planted string beans. These string bean plants are particularly special because children who attend our Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days from these same communities this summer will harvest the beans from these plants. When the children who were planting realized that they and their neighbors would be able to come back to harvest the beans, they began trying to get as many seeds into the ground as possible. They showed their true understanding of the importance of getting fresh produce to people in their community.
We wrapped up the day with our graduation ceremony. Each child received a Rainbow Chef Diploma, a safe cutting knife, and a chef hat. The children proudly smiled for pictures and were thrilled to be recognized for their hard work. When one young child was sounding out all the words on his diploma, his friend turned to him and exclaimed, “The words don’t matter… it means we get to help in the kitchen every day!” They both giggled and mimed chopping vegetables with their new knives and serving them to their parents.
The graduation celebrations were a wonderful way to wrap up the education season! As we move into the harvest season, we will see many of the children back out in our fields for Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days, and we are excited to share another stage of the growing season with them.