Mondays are our office days, with meetings in the morning and more to do in the afternoon. It’s important work, but it rarely works out to do anything at school on these days. Decorah is lucky enough to have the Oneota Food Co-op right downtown. This great place celebrates all facets of healthy eating: Local and organic options, bulk items, and the ability to cook! They are so passionate that they have organized “Exploring Foods”, a cooking class for children 3-7 years old.
On October 14, the Co-op employee who organized the class was unable to come, so another AmeriCorps member and I volunteered to go in her place. After picking up the kids at their schools and walking together to the Co-op, we washed our hands and got down to business.
The lessons combine kitchen safety and new recipes with motor skills, manners, and cooperation, perfect curricula for kids their age! That first day was pizza bagels with ingredients that the kids sliced and grated themselves (the ground only claimed two or three pizzas that day).
We helped again on October 28, this time with layered fruit and yogurt parfaits. The kids thought that it was a blast to compare the individual ingredients with the combined product! We have so much fun with the kids, and they love the freedom to engage in making their own meals.
These lessons are growing in popularity, and in the New Year we will be expanding into two different sessions, now led by AmeriCorps members like me! It is a great, rewarding way to wrap up a day that starts a little slow… and it allows us an extra opportunity to reach out and provide nutrition education!