Kids Celebrate Food Day

A stalk of celerySarah Rodriguez says she usually doesn’t like celery.

But she changed her mind on Wednesday.

“I tasted it and now it’s good,” she said in an interview with New York 1, a local cable TV channel in New York City.

Sarah is a student at Haven Academy in the Bronx.

(The Bronx is a section of New York City.)

And on Wednesday, her school celebrated Food Day by opening up a new rooftop learning garden – a garden where Sarah and other students will be able to grow their own herbs and vegetables.

That produce will then be used to make meals in the school’s cafeteria, according to New York 1 reporter Roger Clark.

On Wednesday, the Haven Academy students created healthful salads as part of a cooking lesson – salads that contained greens, beans and grains.

And when they were done, they got to eat their creations.

“It’s really tasty,” Haven student Edgar Feliz told Clark.

Here in the United States, Food Day was founded last year by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in order to “transform the American diet,” according to the group’s website.

“The foods we eat should bolster our health,” the group says.  “But the contemporary American diet is actually contributing to several hundred thousand premature deaths from heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer each year.”

According to the CSPI, many of us eat way too many “cheap, salty, overly processed packaged foods, high-calorie sugary drinks and fast food.”

The goal is to get us to give up most that salt, fat and sugar, in order to live longer, healthier lives.

Worldwide, Food Day has been celebrated since 1981.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Grade five students at Saint Catherine’s School used the occasion to finish harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers grown in their school garden, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).

The end result?

Potato soup for the entire school, made by a professional chef.

Saint Catherine’s student Jennifer McGuire really dug the gardening (pun intended).

“It’s fun just getting muddy and looking for stuff,” she told the CBC.

And at South Park Middle School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, kids were introduced to a vegetable some of them had never even heard of before – jicama.

“It’s good,” South Park sixth-grader Braden Christie told Green Bay, Wisconsin, TV station WLUK.

Jicama (pronounced HICK-ah-mah) comes from Mexico and Central America.

It looks kind of like a turnip or a water chestnut.

But it tastes more like an apple.

And it’s good in salads.

“It had a nice, sweet taste,” Braden told WLUK reporter Chad Doran.

Whether it’s jicama, celery or some other vegetable, one of the main goals of Food Day is to show kids that healthful foods can actually taste good – especially if you grow them yourself.

(“They’re) good for your body,” as one Haven Academy student told New York City TV station WABC.  “They keep you moving and healthy.”