Some days, I leave school feeling so empowered and energized about all of the amazing progress we’re making towards creating a healthy, equitable, exciting school food environment for the kids and staff in Postville.
Days when the whole school enjoys beautiful, multi-colored lettuce grown by a local farmer for their lunch (in early April, in Iowa!) and kindergarteners through sixth graders ask for seconds by the handful.
Or when a group of high school boys who have recently immigrated to the United States approaches me because they want to form a 4-H group to teach their peers about some of the traditional food from their home countries.
Or when a group of teachers sits down together to plan a new school garden and immediately starts to figure out how to incorporate each step of the garden-building process into their classroom curriculum.
However, there are also moments when I feel like I’m running into wall after wall, with no hope in sight.
Days when I FINALLY convince a kid to be brave enough to try a new food, and he almost-maybe throws up a little bit in his hand because he absolutely hates it.
Or when all of the pepper seeds I planted with a classroom fail to sprout, because I accidentally used seeds that were donated last year, and they’re no longer viable.
Or when a kindergartener tastes a new vegetable, and then yells to all the other kids at his table “It tastes like a garbage can!!!”
Mishaps like these are part of my days, too. And that’s okay. Because to create lasting change, we must work slowly. We must persist, and be patient. Yesterday when I left school, ONE of my lettuce seeds had shot up a tiny little sprout. Its tiny leaves were two mini signs of hope. If we keep tending to the seeds we’ve planted in Postville — seeds both literal and metaphorical — we’ll have a vibrant, bountiful garden again this year.