A gardenside chat

“Wait. Have we met you before?”, asks one sixth grader as his class settles into the outdoor classroom benches at a Santa Barbara area elementary school.

“Nope. I’m the crazy bike lady. I rode over 1,000 miles just to come here and talk to YOU!”, I reply. A few other students tune in. Immediately, I have their attention. This is a condensed presentation so after a quick overview of my route, program and mission, the floor opens up for Q&A. Hands are timid to start, but soon the class is peppering me with questions, including such gems as:

  • “Do you get to go to the bathroom?”
  • “What do you eat?”
  • “What’s your favorite color?”
  • “Are you married?”
  • … and of course, the wonderfully esoteric “WHY are you doing this?”

We wrap up and head into the garden where the students are soon busy carefully planting lettuce & bok choy in slightly crooked rows. I connect with the Principal and she fills me in on their many school lunch successes. Check out a portion of the list below:

I ask her what the turning point was for their school. “It was just time. We wrote a wellness policy, got specific, and stuck to it. A combination of motivated food services personnel, student education, family involvement & staff buy-in were all key pieces.”

This principal also encourages all the students to create a “Party on their plate” by placing the salad in the middle of a segmented tray rather than sequestering all those fresh veggies on the sidelines. She guesses that 25% of students are now “partying” on their plates. Kudos to everyone involved in making healthy changes at this school!

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Students making a difference

This fantastic video was created by students from Santa Barbara High School’s Don’s Net Cafe: an entrepreneurial student-run business dedicated to “Doin’ some good in the world”. I’ll be working with this awesome class to put on an event in Santa Barbara next week. Rock on and keep riding!