We can lecture kids on the importance of eating healthy for our bodies and to protect the planet, however; if we teach them in a fun, hands on way, why sustainable food practices are important, we will be supplying them with the information and will to make healthy choices their whole life.
Here is a list of some things that you might like trying with students.
One of my absolute favorite schools in Mexico City has a school garden that they use to produce fruits and vegetables for the school kitchen. It is not only a peaceful play to sit and watch the lavender grow while you plan your next class but also a place that students come to plant, water, measure the growth and finally harvest their crops in a way that lets them empathize and appreciate the natural world. And it is pleasant for them to identify the flavors in their strawberry and banana smoothie when they grew and picked the strawberries. It also makes kids think twice before they waste food when they know everything that went into it.
Reducing waste is the other key component to reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat. Not only does the food we eat cause greenhouse gas emissions when we are producing it but also when we throw it away and it decomposes.
Teaching kids how to cook can potentially decrease waste as they learn different ways to combine foods for different occasions. However; we can also help them plan out when and how much to buy and learn ways to keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer and ways of composting to put waste to good use.
My students had to document everything they ate for a week and then take a Foodprint Quiz online to calculate the impact of their food habits on the environment.
After that, they identified the foods that caused the most greenhouse gas emissions and finally they met with a chef to determine how to lower the carbon footprint of some of their favorite foods. This international cookbook is the result.