A Future Farmer & Chef in the Making: Matthew’s Story
Third grader Matthew wants to be a farmer and a chef when he grows up, and he loves food literacy class! With each class, Matthew’s interest grows. If we have extra produce, he puts one in his backpack for later. He tastes every new vegetable and encourages his classmates to do the same.
Matthew’s mom is a shining example of an engaged parent. When we first met, Matthew was leading her across the room to meet us.
“Your class is so important to Matthew,” she told us. “He never stops talking about food literacy.”
We held a volunteer day at Feeding Crane Farms this spring. Matthew’s mom brought Matthew. He was the only student in our class of 120 who came. From 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, Matthew pulled weeds, hauled tools and harvested fava beans, grinning from ear to ear the entire day.
Farm staffer Paul Poore is a trained chef and farmer. He also graduated our Food Literacy Academy. He took Matthew under his wing during his day on the farm, helping him complete his farm chores, and let him stand first in line to taste the farm-fresh meal. One dish included a kale and beet salad. Matthew had never tasted beets before, but when Paul offered him a taste, Matthew didn’t hesitate. As he bit into his first beet, a giant smile spread across his face.
“Can I have more?” he asked. We look forward to having Matthew back in food literacy class again this year.
Our program not only affects the children we teach, but we’ve also made an impact on the school. Teachers from the school have lost weight, the cafeteria manager started serving healthier menu items, and teachers stopped offering cookies as rewards when food literacy is present.
As we celebrate another year of food literacy successes, we also celebrate YOU! This work is not possible without the support of our community. Thank you for being so engaged, for giving from the heart, and for making our kids a priority in your life. May your kindness return to you again and again.
To help more kids like Matthew discover a passion for healthy fruits and vegetable (and possibly a future career in farming and cooking) please donate to our program!
Story and photos by Amber Stott