Imagine recess on a typical elementary school day, and you will likely picture kids making a beeline to the playground to vie for their favorite swing, slide, or tetherball. Not so on Tuesday mornings this Fall at Bell Hill Academy. Instead students eagerly lined up to select a vegetable from the Sierra Harvest garden cart. At times the line was more than 20 students long, yet they stood patiently- sometimes on tiptoes or craning their necks to see what was available and what they might choose from the selection of peppers, tomatoes, ground cherries, greens, and more.
One second grader picked a shishito pepper and insisted he would love the heat as he took his first bite.
A third grader exclaimed “I’m eating a pickle without a jar!” as she waved around the pickling cucumber she’d picked as a perfect snack.
The veggies were provided through a partnership with Starbright Acres Family Farm, a 3-acre local family farm just 2.5 miles from Bell Hill. In addition, two classes each year take a field trip out to Starbright Acres to see first-hand where their food is coming from. These activities combine with other elements of Sierra Harvest’s Farm to School program with a goal to educate, inspire, and connect Nevada County students to fresh, local, seasonal food.
Recess is over but that doesn’t stop a few remaining students from lingering around the cart hoping to grab one last veggie before heading back to class. A parent visiting campus marvels at the selection of veggies her son has just enjoyed. Tomorrow recess will be back to the regular routine, but hopefully the fun of the garden cart today has sparked more kids to enjoy and seek out healthy, local food.