Second graders at McKinley learn about nutrition from their own garden

Second graders at McKinley Elementary School in Davenport got a chance to try their hands in the kitchen on Wednesday with their own home-grown vegetables from the school’s garden.

For five years, McKinley Elementary has grown vegetables in their community garden. In the spring, students vote on which vegetables they want to grow and in the fall they harvest and cook a meal with them.

“I wanted to start a garden here at McKinley because when I think back to my elementary school years, it’s the experiences, it’s learning through doing things that really stuck with me,” said Sarah Davis-Priest, co-founder of the McKinley school garden. “I thought [it was] a great chance to learn where your food comes from, it’s a great chance to learn about community activities, and it’s a great chance about how to learn how to eat well, how to keep yourself healthy.”

Every year, Chef Robert Lewis from Happy Joe’s teaches the kids how to cook a meal with the vegetables they harvested.

“This year we were making Potato Pancakes of Love. [It’s] kind of a traditional Jewish recipe with eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. These were purple potatoes grown in the McKinley [school] garden, right upstairs from where we are,” said Lewis. “Basically we chose the recipe because we had so many potatoes.”

Lewis said his favorite part of the experience is giving back to the community.

“I think it’s important [for the kids] to know what not only makes food delicious, but what makes food healthy and to make the right choices when they’re at the supermarket so they’re eating healthier foods,” said Lewis.

Davis-Priest, who originally came up with the idea of the garden, said she hopes through the event, kids will get excited about growing their own food and cooking healthy meals.

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