For the future of food to be sustainable, kids must get onboard. Such is the aim of Slow Food Miami (SFM), a branch of a global movement dedicated to promoting healthful, environmentally friendly food.
SFM is sponsoring the creation of more than 100 gardens at schools across South Florida, so Generation Z can get clued into nutritious eating as early as possible.
"Our chapter in Miami focuses primarily on school and community gardens as a pathway to educate the children in our community about good, clean, and fair food," SFM president Michele Baker Benesch says. "No matter your background or faith, we all have the ability to plant and care for ourselves and loved ones through real food."
The first planting of the season will take place Tuesday, October 9, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Leewood Elementary School.
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Slow Food Miami folks will speak with several dozen teachers, students, and volunteers about food, plants, seeds, and sustainability. The audience will have a chance to ask questions; then the kids will jump in to help with the planting process. It'll be up to them to maintain the gardens.
SFM is all about local growers, seasonal produce, and sustainable farming methods. It's nonprofit that's run entirely by volunteers.
"The kids love the outdoor classroom," Benesch says of the project. "Through touch and smell, these children learn and get very excited about planting. For some of the children, it's the first time they get their hands dirty in the soil to plant anything. So they become engaged and involved by making sure their seedling has water, proper sunlight, and bug-free. Their ownership of the garden is what helps keep it thriving throughout the school year."
SFM typically funds these gardens for more than two years, with the goal of long-term sustainability after that. So kids can skip the Happy Meals and get into some garden-grown goodies instead.