Creating a Culture of Healthy Food: FoodCorps at Kelly Miller Middle School

Starsha Valentine The Farm at Kelly Miller, Urban Agriculture

By Kat Riascos, Kelly Miller Middle School FoodCorps Service Member

As we embark on 2018, I would like to take a moment and reflect on my time so far at Kelly Miller Middle School as the Dreaming Out Loud FoodCorps Service Member.

From the start, the students have been so eager to learn about food and gardening. Any time I planted I’ve had countless volunteers ready to get their hands dirty. I’ve had the pleasure of hosting five vegetable taste tests – each enticing over one-hundred students to take a chance and try something new.

In addition to being able to garden and try new recipes outside of class, I have also had the opportunity to bring food lessons into the classroom. Every other day I teach a morning elective class where we learn cooking and gardening skills. Later in the year, the class will culminate in the students proposing and creating a working model of a food solution for the neighborhood surrounding Kelly Miller.
I have also been able to bring one of my personal interests, culinary history, into my service year. Every other week, Ms. Dixon, the African American Studies teacher allows me to come in to her class and teach African American Foodways lessons. We have been able to explore things such as the role of sugarcane in the transatlantic slave trade, and the history of black-eyed-peas in the United States. Since starting, the students have decided that they would like to end their time in this class with a Soulfood potluck, showcasing their ancestral dishes.

I am so thankful for every member of the school community who has made my transition into this service year a smooth one. We have accomplished so much this year already. We established a Healthy School Team and rebuilt the school garden (Thank you Mr. Boe and Mr. Rian!) all in the first few months of the school year. I am so thrilled to see how much we grow in this next year.

Signing Off
-Kat Riascos