To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.
K is for KALE
This blog series has been less food-focused that much of my writing – since the goal was to explore more broadly on the connections between academic/school success and overall nutrition/fitness. I want to talk here about kale in a broader ‘symbolic’ sense than about it’s nutrient values or trendy culinary reputation. Although I do have to admit that a vegetable with its own national celebration is pretty cool – more at National Kale Day (where you can now download your own Kale Hero Kit!).
Kale is a hardy and versatile veggie. It’s a successful outdoors in southern winters and a grows great in northern greenhouses during the cold months as well (the photo below is a January posting from FoodCorps Massachusetts). This means that kale is perfect for school year gardens where it gives many children their first taste of dark green leaves. It is versatile in the kitchen – delicious raw in salads, cooked in soups and perhaps, most importantly, as the surprisingly crispy and popular kale chip. An article in the Huffington Post – Kale: Benefits Beyond Nutrition – got me thinking about how much this humble green is helping children learn about growing, preparing and enjoying new foods. Kale is a combination of the ultimate local food – and the gateway to a whole nutrition world.
For more about kale chips in schools, please read my HuffPo article on Kale Chips for 8,000 and Other Farm-to-school Successes by the Numbers.