Slow Food USA’s Good, Clean and Fair School Garden Curriculum “Hits the Shelves”
Lauren Howe, February 16, 2014
Slow Food USA’s National School Garden Program is excited to have launched our first-ever monthly webinar last Thursday February 12 just in time for the release of the initial volume of the Good, Clean and Fair School Garden Curriculum. We were lucky to have Gigia Kolouch, Education Director for Slow Food Denver, present this first section, which she developed and wrote for Slow Food USA. A long time educator, cooking teacher, and chef, Gigia explained, “Slow Food needed its own curriculum because of our unique mission.” Hence, she wrote the activities, instructions, and recipes around cooking and eating.
The goal is to have the curriculum broken up into three parts: Good, Clean and Fair, to capture Slow Food’s mission. Here, Good means “enjoying the pleasures of healthy and delicious food,” Clean is “gardening for sustainability,” and Fair indicates “producing food that respects economic and social justice.” This Good volume incorporates an assortment of lessons that not only promote children’s excitement for new foods, but also include activities that can fit into a more conventional classroom setting. What’s more is that anyone can teach these lessons – you don’t have to be a teacher or chef!
Gigia provided an overview of the curriculum, which includes a wide variety of activities that focus on: observation and the five senses, research, experimentation and action, and reflection. She emphasized how two major skills are needed before an individual even reads a recipe or cooks a dish: how to mix/balance flavors and kitchen skills. These fundamentals have guided the development of this first volume, which is broken up into two chapters: “Sensory Education” and “Kitchen Skills and Tools.” The first of which turns everything into an experiment (e.g. tastings) and really puts the kids in charge, whereas the second chapter emphasizes mastering basic skills such as knife handling and simple tools like mortars and pestles.
We had 18 people join us for the webinar from a range of Slow Food communities from Boston to Dallas and Chicago to San Diego. We hope that teachers and volunteers alike will utilize this curriculum to help expand the minds and palates of students of all ages!
Lauren Howe is Manager of Slow Food USA’s National School Garden Program.