Wednesday, 22 May 2013 11:36

Milton Terrace Elementary Students Slurp up Smoothies, Learn Importance of Organic Produce

By Chelsea DiSchiano | Education

BALLSTON SPA — While fifth-grade students at Milton Terrace North Elementary School were drinking all-natural smoothies from Good Morning Café May 17, they were also learning a lesson about the major differences between processed food and local organic food.

Staff members of Good Morning Café and Dave Randles of Argyle Cheese Farmer arrived at Jean Hoin’s classroom last Friday to teach the students about the differences in highly processed yogurt, which contains additives, artificial flavors and dyes versus natural yogurt, by making smoothies using only local and organic ingredients donated by the Café. The presentations were inspired by Food Revolution Day, a national initiative dedicated to teaching people that switching from processed to fresh foods will better improve their health.

“My students have been working on planting and maintaining a garden outside of their classroom, so they were interested in seeing some of the different ways that foods can be produced locally,” said Hoin. “Of course, they were very enthusiastic about trying the smoothies, which were delicious. The volunteers did a great job of sharing information about nutrition and local sustainable food production and we are grateful to the staff at the Good Morning Café for presenting this and for supporting our garden initiative.”

Hoin said the students were especially interested in learning about the different cultures of yogurt. 

“The students were particularly interested in all of the different ‘cultures’ in the yogurt that was made by Argyle Cheese Farmer, compared to the commercial yogurt products,” Hoin said. “Dave Randles told them all about how the yogurt is made at the farm, and they liked the long names of the five different cultures in his yogurt. They were also interested in the biodegradable ‘plastic’ cups, which we intend to compost, and the returnable glass container that the Argyle Cheese Farmer’s yogurt comes in.”

Laura Rose Dailey, Good Morning Café’s sustainability and community outreach coordinator, said that the students loved the smoothies and some even claimed “it was the best smoothie of their lives.”

“We made the smoothies and talked about the differences between Argyle yogurt versus Go-Gurt—we had a list of the ingredients of Go-Gurt, which took up a whole paragraph, and then Dave talked about his yogurt, which only had a few ingredients,” Dailey said.

Hoin added that the students liked the fact that all the ingredients used to make the smoothies were from local sources. 

“They also liked the fact that the milk was from Battenkill Creamery, the yogurt was from Dave Randles of Argyle Cheese Farmer, and the Maple Syrup was from Mapleland Farms,” Hoin said. “The students know that before too long, they will be able to buy local strawberries for their own smoothies at the Farmer’s Market.”

“So, almost all of the ingredients came from local sources,” Hoin continued. “The only product that came from far away were the bananas, which were organically grown somewhere in Latin America. The students liked the fact that all of the ingredients were produced locally.”

“[The students] were asking about where the bananas and strawberries were from,” Dailey added. “They had their own curiosity about where their food came from.”

Dailey said she also explained to the kids about alternatives to processed food in the grocery store, giving them different options for healthy yogurts they can buy in the store if they choose to from now on. 

Hoin said the Food Revolution Day taught her students an important lesson about sustainable food. 

“They learned that healthy foods can taste good too, and can come from sustainable local sources,” Hoin said. “I hope that all of these experiences help increase their awareness of the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of making informed decisions about what they consume.”

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