Health lessons come from school garden

Bruce Schultz  |  5/2/2018 8:28:56 PM

(05/02/18) BALDWIN, La. — Fourth-grade students at Raintree Elementary School harvested and ate their first crop from the school garden on May 2.

The youngsters pulled carrots, beets and radishes from the soil and cut green onion tops for a stir-fry dish cooked by Jessica Randazzo, LSU AgCenter nutrition agent in St. Mary Parish, and Kayla Hebert of the Franklin service center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it,” Randazzo told the class.

The food might be different, she said, “but we’re not going to say it’s gross or nasty.”

Some students asked for seconds, and some only took a bite or two.

School principal Donald Sanders tried it, too. “I don’t like vegetables, but this is really good,” he said.

Students were given a recipe, a set of measuring cups they could take to their parents to use at home and seeds to plant their own gardens.

The school garden, funded with a grant from UnitedHealthcare, was incorporated into the physical education class taught by Suzette Charpentier. She said the endeavor opened students to a new experience. “Some of them have never seen gardening,” she said.

The garden was planted in March as part of a health lesson.

Five weeks remain in the school year. “We’ll wrap up our garden in the next couple of weeks and start it again in August,” Charpentier said.

Randazzo said the garden project was started at the school by the 4-H Club, but it expanded into Charpentier’s classroom.

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LSU AgCenter nutrition agent Jessica Randazzo tells fourth-graders at Raintree Elementary School near Baldwin, Louisiana, about preparing a vegetable dish at home using the same recipe she used to make a dish with ingredient from a garden grown by the students. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

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Students taste a stir-fry dish made with vegetables from their school garden at Raintree Elementary School near Baldwin, Louisiana. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

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Students clean carrots and radishes picked from their garden at Raintree Elementary School near Baldwin, Louisiana. The vegetables were used to make a stir-fry dish. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

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Head Start children visiting Raintree Elementary School near Baldwin, Louisiana, taste carrots freshly picked from the school garden. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter

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