Students and teachers at Jack Robey Junior High School recently prepared coleslaw made from produce grown in their own school garden. The food preparation activity was part of a science lesson planned in conjunction with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said Karleah Harris, assistant professor for the UAPB Department of Human Sciences.
During the activity, Harris and undergraduate students of human sciences spoke to the junior high students about the health benefits of cabbage and the importance of growing fresh fruits and vegetables. Then, everyone got to pitch in and help in the preparation of the coleslaw. They shredded cabbage, mixed ingredients and finally sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
"It was amazing to see how the students were excited to get to work preparing -- and then eating -- the coleslaw," Harris said. "During the lesson, they all asked great questions that showed their appreciation for healthy foods. School activities related to nutrition education have the potential to positively influence students' attitudes to eating more fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, this can help raise a generation of nutrition conscious students, helping to transform the food system and combat the trend of food deserts."
Arnold Robertson, principal for Jack Robey Junior High School, said he appreciated the help and instruction Harris and her students provided in growing and harvesting vegetables at the school garden.
"Our partnership with UAPB has proven to be a super plus for the school," he said. "Our students have seized the opportunity to harvest and prepare the vegetables they have grown in our garden."
Cherrelle Murry, one of the students who took part in the hands-on lesson, said she enjoyed learning how to make coleslaw step-by-step.
"It was fun picking out the vegetables we were going to prepare our meal with because you knew it was real food," she said. "But the best thing about the lesson was when we got to eat the coleslaw we made. One day, I would like to make coleslaw by myself."
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Will Hehemann is a writer/editor at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.