Lesson 23: Learning about food (pre-class)

Language: English
Subject: English language > Reading comprehension
School grade: Spain Spain

Task 1. You are going to read an article about a school in California where the students grow, cook, and eat their own food. How do you think students benefit from this?

Task 2. Now read the article below and choose the topic of each paragraph.

Learning about food: A school in California finds a new way to teach students about healthy eating

Alice Waters – chef and restaurant owner – is sitting in the kitchen garden of the Martin Luther King School in Berkeley, California. The kitchen garden is called the Edible Schoolyard, and students at this public school are preparing a vegetable bed as part of a lesson. A good part of the food grown here is used in the school’s daily meals.

Waters has been fighting to improve children’s diets for a decade, and in 1996 she started a campaign to raise funds for the Edible Schoolyard. “We have such a huge problem of bad eating habits in the United States that teaching about food cannot be left to parents,” she says. “So many children generally are eating fast, cheap, easy food that something has to be done.”

Typical classes in the Edible Schoolyard involve plenty of gardening activity. However, they are not a break from normal school work, as academic projects are always attached. In one lesson, the students are asked to choose one part of the garden as their personal spot for the entire year. They then observe and record in a journal what happens in this spot as time progresses. Classes in the kitchen involve cooking lunch but are also linked to classroom academic subjects. The food cooked here includes a range of dishes from pasta to stuffed vine leaves and delicious Italian omelets filled with herbs and vegetables. The recipes are dictated by what vegetables are available. Science is taught through nutrition and cooking techniques; geography through the effects of the seasons and eating habits around the world.

“When kids become unhealthy due to bad diet, they become isolated,” says Waters. “But eating such good food and picking, smelling and cooking the vegetables and fruit in this garden makes them care about what they eat – and it shows them that we care about them. Just seeing a child saying to another, ‘Would you like some?’ – that is the essential thing.”

Paragraph 1

Classroom activities in the garden

Paragraph 2

The general aim of the garden

Paragraph 3

The campaign and the reasons for it

Paragraph 4

A place where students grow vegetables

Task 3. Read the article again and mark the following sentences as True or False.

1. Apart from being a chef and restaurant owner, Alice Waters teaches children.

2. Alice Waters doesn't believe that parents can teach their children about healthy eating.

3. Learning how to grow and cook food is more important than academic subjects that is why students are involved in gardening and working in the kitchen.

4. Alice Waters says that because of the kitchen garden, children became interested in what they eat.