Participants in last Saturday’s Organic, Local, and Delicious teachers’ workshop were in for a treat — a culinary one, that is! To set the stage for learning how local and organic farming can benefit both the consumer and the environment, the workshop began with a field trip to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. Teachers were instructed to purchase a bag of produce representing all of the classic plant parts, including roots, shoots, leaves, and fruit. The fresh produce was used back at the Academy for an activity illustrating the function of plant parts, and provided ingredients for a healthy lunch!
Another popular activity involved crafting and illustrating a paper-based topographical landscape, with rolling hills, urban areas, and stretches of farm laced with a bit of “pesticide.” With the spritz of a spray bottle, teachers were introduced to a telling demonstration of how a winter rainstorm can spread poisonous chemicals far from their original source.
I snuck a peak at our post-workshop evaluations: one teacher described the workshop as “Well done, practical and enjoyable” while another reflected that “It was awesome! I loved it!” I’m glad to hear that the participants — by coincidence all pre-service teachers — found the activities applicable to the classroom.
(For curious readers: this workshop is offered again on Saturday, March 7th, 2009. Call 1.800.794.7576 to register.)
One take-home tip: Be skeptical of labeling. Words like “natural” and “organic” can be used quite freely in marketing. But truly organic products are certified by third-party groups with recognizable labels, such as the CCOF sunflower and the green seal of the USDA.