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Fresh Five Week 3: Earth Day!

Earth Day turns 50 this year! Back in 1970, an American politician named Gaylord Nelson wanted to harness the energy of youth activism to bring attention to environmental issues. That year, 20 million Americans (10% of the total population) took part in marches, rallies, and learning sessions, and their collective voices and the connections made from that first Earth Day led to important environmental legislation in the US, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts within three years.

Today, Earth Day is a global event that has gone digital! You can learn more and find lots more ideas of how to get involved at earthday.org. And, of course, we have a Fresh Five things you can do to celebrate this beautiful planet we call home.

 Dress Your Veggies

A friend of mine asked people to share what they had way too much of in their pantry that they didn’t know what to do with, and someone said “Nutritional Yeast!” So I just had to share our Fresh Roots Famous Salad Dressing. We use it to make our farm-fresh salads irresistible – we have to cut kids off at 5 plates of kale salad, it’s that good! If you, too, have a supply of nutritional yeast in your pantry and aren’t sure what to do with it other than put it on popcorn, here’s an awesome solution. It’s great on salad, steamed or roasted vegetables, grains, and more.

What does this have to do with Earth Day, you ask? Well, when we make veggies delicious, kids (and parents) will choose to eat more of them. That’s not only good for your body, it’s good for the planet too. Animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change globally, so choosing plant-based foods more often reduces your carbon footprint. And if you can get your veggies from a local farmer, or your own garden plot, that’s even better!

Fresh Roots Famous Salad Dressing

 

Learn About Food & Climate

Raising animals isn’t the only part of our food system that’s connected to our warming climate. From farming to processing to packaging to waste, every part of out food system has impacts on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This interactive learning resource from the Center for Ecoliteracy is a deep dive into the topic for middle and high school students, or anyone curious about the food system. And don’t worry – it’s not all bad news! You’ll discover lots of ways the people are making change for good in their communities and beyond.

Understating Food and Climate Change

 

Discover Backyard Nature

What better way to honor Earth Day than to learn about some of the other living things that make their homes here? Seek is a kid-safe mobile app created by the iNaturalist folks. Just point the app’s camera at a plant, bug, bird, mushroom, or other living things and the app will tell you all about it! Plus, you can earn badges and participate in challenges. There’s no registration required, and all location data collected is obscured to protect privacy. Happy Searching!

Find the Seek App

 

Make Veggie Art

If you have some fruits or veggies that have been in the fridge just a little too long, Veggie Printing is a fun way to repurpose them! Not only is it a good thing to do with that limp celery, potato that’s started growing, or the bits of your veg that aren’t going to make it into soup, it’s also a great way for kids to play with their food. When kids are encouraged to use all their senses to get to explore a carrot or asparagus in a stress-free way, they can develop a greater appreciation for them, which in turn makes them more likely to eat those vegetables. And if you’re wondering what to do with those veggie prints, may I suggest making an Earth Day card or banner to hang in your window?

Veggie Print Activity Guide

Sing Along with Eco Jams

What better way to wrap up a list of ways to honour the Earth than with an Earth-themed concert you can sing and dance along to from the comfort of your living room? As a grad student, I had the privilege to have singer, songwriter, social worker, and educator Joe Reilly join my outdoor school program for an Artist-in-Residence week. He worked with the kids to write songs, and led us all in a concert that was just the best. As his website says, “The core of his message is an invitation to heal our relationships with our selves, with each other, and with the earth.” His songs full of science facts, silliness, so much joy, and a ton of heart. He’s live streaming throughout the week on his Facebook page, or you can check out a recorded live stream here.

Joe Reilly Earth Week Non-Tour

May you love the Earth and all the life she sustains,

Kat

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Fresh Five Week 2: Celebrate Spring!

This week we got to see the the first full moon of Spring, and it was gorgeous! I hope you got to see it rising as the sun was setting. Many First Nations have traditional names for each of the 13 full moons of the year. The W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) name for this month’s full moon is Pexsisen, the Moon of the Opening Hands or the Blossoming Out Moon, which reflects both the blossoming of flowers and budding of trees, and the open hand gesture of gratitude.

(Learn more about all the W̱SÁNEĆ moons.)

The full moon also heralds a number of religious holidays and cultural spring festivals, including Passover, which starts April 8th, and Easter on April 12. Only a couple of weeks ago, people were celebrating the Spring Equinox, Nowruz, and Ostara, with Holi shortly before that. This year, Ramadan will start on April 23. And we’re right in Cherry Blossom season, as the trees at David Thompson are showing!

While there may be lots of different ways people celebrate this time of year, most of them involve gathering with family and community, and sharing food. This week’s Fresh Five are all about ways we can connect to our communities, make things to share, and have fun! Our gatherings may need to be more digital this year, but I hope everyone finds a way to celebrate the warmth, beauty, and blooming welcome of spring.

Explore Your Spring Traditions

At Fresh Roots, we think everyone should have healthy food, land, and communities, and one of the ways we strengthen our communities is through traditions! Whether your spring celebrations center around a religious holiday, a natural phenomenon, or a special calendar date, talking to your elders about where those traditions come from is a great way to build relationships.
Exploring Spring Traditions Activity Guide

 

Make Dandelion Fritters

Flowers and food are important parts of lots of spring traditions! We thought we’d bring these two things together with this simple and simply yummy recipe for Dandelion Fritters. Dandelions are amazing plants – the leaves, roots, and flowers are all edible, and they are an amazing food source for our early season pollinators, including bumblebees!
Dandelion Fritters Recipe

 

Write a Cherry Blossom Haiku

I was fortunate to get out to David Thompson for an afternoon this week. We have two beautiful flowering cherries right near the entrance to the farm, and they were in their full glory. Cherry blossom season is only a few weeks long, and different cherries bloom at different times. You can learn more about what’s blooming in Vancouver at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Blooming Now page. What kinds of trees are blooming in your neighborhood?

Feeling inspired by all these blossoming beauties? Write a haiku and submit it to the Haiku Invitational!
Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational

 

Dye Eggs with Plants

Decorating eggs is part of a number of spring celebrations, including Nowruz and Easter, probably because eggs are such a universal symbol for new life, and because chickens start to lay more eggs in the spring, so there’s plenty to go around. Didn’t get a dye kit from the store, or just looking for a more natural route? You can use things you might already have in your kitchen to make beautiful eggs! The ones in the picture were dyed with red cabbage, and left to soak for a few hours in the fridge. They were such a beautiful color!
Dye Eggs with Plants

Plant a Kitchen Window Garden

On the farm, we love to celebrate spring by planting seeds! You can celebrate with us by planting seeds in your garden, or even in a repurposed container on your windowsill. Our friends at Growing Chefs have a great video lesson all about soil and how to plant your windowsill garden. Subscribe to their YouTube channel for more great gardening and cooking lessons you can do at home!
Windowsill Garden Lesson

Happy Spring, everyone!

Kat

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Fresh Five Ideas for At Home Learning #1

Welcome to the first edition of the Fresh Five!

Hey there, friends. This is Kat, your friendly local Experiential Learning Manager.

Wow, this is a different learning environment than we were expecting to be in this spring. I’m frankly devastated not to have you on the farms for the time being. But it’s been so deeply beautiful to see how educators all over the world are stepping up to meet this challenge. There are so many activities, digital resources, free concerts, Zoom webinars, and educational websites out there, and more coming everyday!

While all those resources are so great, I know it can be hard to sort through everything that’s coming across your email and social media feeds to find the things your kids will love (especially while you’re trying to parent your kids at home, or teach your kids who are now in 25 different homes). But never fear! The Fresh Five is here to help!

Each week, we will be sharing five of our favorite ideas for at home learning around the things Fresh Roots is known for: food and food systems, ecological stewardship, and community celebration. Some of the activities, like this week’s Super Seeds lesson are pulled from our collection of farm and classroom programming, and have been adapted for home learning. Others are recommendations from our partners and friends in the world of farming, food, and environmental education.  If you have an activity you’d love to see featured, drop an email to education@freshroots.ca and let us know!

We’ll be posting them here on our blog (you can bookmark freshroots.ca/freshfive to always find the latest Five), and sharing them on our Facebook,  Instagram and Twitter feeds. We’ll also be posting regular photos and videos from the farm on social media, so follow us to keep up on all the breaking veggie news!

OK, that’s enough intro. Here’s this week’s Fresh Five!

Carrot Fries

Every week at Camp Fresh Roots, our campers work together to make lunch for the whole camp. One of last summer’s hit recipes were these Carrot Fries with Lime Crema, which we served with homemade veggie burgers. It’s a great way to use that 5-lb bag of carrots you bought, and is super kid-friendly, both to make and eat. At camp, we’ll have an adult cut the carrots in half lengthwise so there’s a flat edge for them to sit on, then the kids cut them into quarters! (Oh, and camp registrations are still open!)
Carrot Fries Recipe

 

Signs of Spring-O Neighborhood Bingo

Are your kids (and, let’s be honest, you) getting tired of walking around the same 5 blocks over and over again as you try to get some fresh air and gentle exercise during these days of physical distancing? Print out this Neighborhood Bingo sheet! Look at your local environment in a whole new way as you notice how spring is blooming all around us.
Spring-O Bingo Card

 

Food and Farmworkers

I’m a podcast person. I have about 30 different podcasts that update regularly in my feed, on topics from food to mythology to history to linguistics. So when I heard a recent episode of the US-based economics podcast Planet Money about how COVID-19 is impacting American farm workers, I wanted to share it. This is a complex topic, touching on issues of food security, labour rights (or lack thereof), public health, and yes, econ. It’s sure to spark discussions, so we’ve made a bit of framing for it. I recommend listening with your older student and discussing it together. (And in case you’re wondering, Fresh Roots farmworkers are mostly local university students, and pay starts at $15.50/hour.)
Food and Farmworkers Activity Guide

 

Super Seeds!

One of our most popular classroom workshops is Super Seeds! And now you can try it for yourself! We’ve adapted our workshop curriculum to be done at your kitchen table, with just things you probably have on hand. If you have or can find Lima beans, I recommend them for this, as they are both very large (so it’s easy to see what’s in them), and the skins are relatively thin, so they are easy to peel.
Super Seed Activity Guide

 

Recycled Garden Gnome

The Whole Kids Foundation, one of Fresh Roots’ generous funders, has a collection of fun activities for kids and families. We thought this Garden Gnome was just super cute and we had to include it in this week’s collection. If you don’t have acrylic paint, or metal fasteners at home, get creative!  What else could you use to decorate your Gnome?
Garden Gnome Craft Sheet

That’s all for this week! May you plant love and peas, and be well.
Kat