Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You'll participate in the ecological cycle of
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You'll participate in the ecological cycle of food production > compost formation > recycling back to the soil, while helping children understand how their food choices affect not only their own health, but farmers, the environment, and your local community.
Elizabeth and Kathy use simple concepts and fun activities to show children the big picture-how quality soil is the basis of nutritious foods, and how eating a variety of wholesome foods leads to healthy bodies. Their program enhances existing curricula through methods that include writing, art, scientific investigation, music, and puppetry. Suggested resources encourage you to adapt the program to your needs, small scale or large. For instance, the activity "What If All I Ate Were Potato Chips?" encourages children to investigate the nutritional value of foods, while a seed-sprouting experiment "teaches through the taste buds." School gardens such as an Appetizer Garden or the legendary Three Sisters, or a series of classroom worm-composting activities help students discover the role nutrients play in healthy plant production. Handy extension activities demonstrate ways that students can help effect change in their own lives and communities. Background information, suggested readily available materials, and clear instructions give you enough guidance to integrate these activities into your classroom right away.
View Review text
"Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils is just what we need now! Never before has it been so critical that young kids learn healthy eating habits and an appreciating for eating local, in-season, balanced diets. As we struggle to help our kids get connected to the earth and the food they eat, in a world where most kids think vegetables grow on Aisle 8, this book is a great tool. Patten and Lyons make learning about food fun!"
—Anna Blythe Lappé, co-author, Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet
View Description for teachers/educators
Teachers, whether they live in a city or a farming community, will find this book a wonderful tool to help "ground" children as they learn about their power to make healthier food choices. Educators will also enjoy the inclusion of strategies to introduce a puppet to classrooms. Patten and Lyons have had such success using their puppet Annelida, the Healthy Foods From Healthy Soils "spokesworm," that they have integrated her into the book.
Healthy Foods From Healthy Soils will help inspire classroom conversations about:
What "locally grown" means to students
Eating and exercise habits
Soil quality and worm composting
The connections between food and culture
Puppetry and creative arts
Create placemats that illustrate a lunch scene in another region or culture.
Have students survey their parents, neighbors or relatives about their lunch breaks as children or as adults at work.
Encourage students to look for demographic patterns in lunch traditions. What are the similarities and differences between rural and urban populations? Or between Northerners and Southerners? Or between countries?
Research how was lunch eaten 100 or 200 years ago compared with today.
Do students have enough time to eat lunch? If not, is it a school or system-wide issue? What might change the lunch timetable? If they seek more time for lunch, have students draft a letter to their school principal/superintendent/school board.
View Biographical note
Elizabeth Patten is a licensed dietitian working in the field of preventive health. She lives in Freeport, Maine, with her family and several thousand red wigglers.
Kathy Lyons is an environmental educator and puppeteer in Orono, Maine. Annelida the worm puppet was first created for a recycling program but has happily joined the team as "spokesworm" for the Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils project.
Helen Stevens is an illustrator and graphic artist in Gardiner, Maine.