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Teaching Resilience through Healthy Cooking

By Faces of DUG

#16: Meet La'Tara, 3rd grade teacher at Swansea Elementary School

“My students have so much going on in their lives right now. With everything they hear on the news, it’s a lot for them to process. What I like about DUG’s virtual cooking classes is that they allow my students, their parents, and their teacher to get on one call, make a meal together, and enjoy some informal quality time. After the third cooking class, one parent said to me, “This is so fun! I hope we can continue doing this.” It has been a way for us to get together and hang out, which is something that’s missing from a lot of people’s lives right now because of COVID. When we were teaching in-person, my kids would say, “Oh, this is so sad. I can’t hug you!” They couldn’t talk to their friends because of social distancing. 

These classes not only have allowed us to make a meal altogether, but they have also given us a chance to talk about our lives and share what’s going on in each of our worlds. They have helped spur more personal conversations and allowed us to talk outside of the academic room. My students brought their little brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, and other family members to join in. It has been a family affair; no students joined the classes alone. 

DUG’s cooking classes have complimented my normal curriculum. My students have a hard time following multi-step directions and sticking things out till the end. We all follow along as Ms. Riley lists the instructions for each recipe, reinforcing the positive behaviors I am trying to teach my students. When you start with raw vegetables and end with a finished product, can taste it (and it tastes good), it excites my students. They are learning how to follow directions and how to persevere because, in the end, there will be a great prize. It helps build my students’ intrinsic motivation and teaches them that eating healthy is good for you. They are learning that you don’t need extravagant, expensive ingredients to cook a healthy meal. You can use ingredients that come from the earth that are inexpensive, plentiful, and accessible. And you can even grow them yourself!

The students were able to learn about new vegetables they’ve never tried before. One class that blew us all away was when we cooked a pasta recipe with kale. At one point, there was complete silence because everybody was eating. All you could hear was, “This is so good! I never thought kale could be this good!” One of my students’ dad used kale instead of bread the next day to make him a sandwich. They are incorporating lifestyle changes in their own lives and passing them onto the generation above them.

I believe that my students’ understanding of vegetables and healthy eating has changed because of DUG’s cooking classes. Many students thought that vegetables aren’t something they want to eat because they lack flavor and won’t be satisfying enough. Before one of the classes, one of my students said to me, “Ms. Clayton, I think they messed up my bag! Are these people vegetarian? Why isn’t there any meat?” I explained to her that good sources of vitamins, minerals, and healthy calories come from vegetables. I told her that I had recently gone to the grocery store to buy some ground beef, and it was so expensive that I couldn’t afford to buy it. I want my students to learn that there might come a time when we won’t have such easy access to the foods we’re used to eating, but we can still sustain ourselves with the food that comes from the earth, which is better for us. 

The only recipe we cooked that the students didn’t like had radishes and beets in it. They said to me, “Ms. Clayton, can we say something truthfully? This is disgusting!” I explained to them that everyone has a different palette; different people like different things. During another class, a student noticed that some of the carrots had shoots growing out of them. They said, “Can we eat this? It’s deformed! Doesn’t that mean that it has pesticides in it and isn’t good to eat?” I told them that not every carrot grows perfectly out of the ground. That “deformed” carrot is just as nutritious as any other carrot. I told them, “Just peel it, chop it, and eat it!” And they did.

DUG’s cooking classes have built a greater sense of community in my classroom: with my students, parents, and within their family units themselves. We’ve gotten to know each other through sharing family recipes. The students’ ideas of healthy eating and community gardens have been elevated to another level. My students even asked me if we could start gardening at our school and share the produce in their lunchroom with food stations that are labeled with titles such as, “These carrots were provided by the Third Graders.” This program has given my students a sense of ownership and excitement about farming, natural foods, gardening, and community. We’ve even decided to continue the cooking classes all on our own once a month!”

Pictured: La’Tara’s daughter showing off recipes cooked in class

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Enseñar a resistir cocinando sano

By Las caras de DUG

#16: Conozca a La'Tara, maestra de 3er grado de la Escuela Primaria Swansea

“Mis alumnos tienen muchas cosas que hacer en sus vidas en estos momentos. Con todo lo que oyen en las noticias, es mucho para ellos procesar. Lo que me gusta de las clases virtuales de cocina de DUG es que permiten a mis alumnos, a sus padres y a su profesor ponerse de acuerdo, preparar una comida juntos y disfrutar de un rato informal de calidad. Después de la tercera clase de cocina, uno de los padres me dijo: “¡Esto es muy divertido! Espero que podamos seguir haciéndolo”. Ha sido una forma de reunirnos y pasar el rato, que es algo que falta en la vida de mucha gente ahora mismo debido a COVID. Cuando dábamos clases en persona, mis hijos decían: “Qué triste. No puedo abrazarte”. No podían hablar con sus amigos debido al distanciamiento social.

Estas clases no sólo nos han permitido hacer una comida juntos, sino que también nos han dado la oportunidad de hablar de nuestras vidas y compartir lo que ocurre en cada uno de nuestros mundos. Nos han ayudado a entablar conversaciones más personales y nos han permitido hablar fuera del aula académica. Mis alumnos trajeron a sus hermanos pequeños, padres, abuelos, tías y otros familiares para que participaran. Ha sido un asunto de familia; ningún alumno se incorporó solo a las clases.

Las clases de cocina de DUG han complementado mi plan de estudios habitual. A mis alumnos les cuesta seguir instrucciones de varios pasos y aguantar hasta el final. Riley enumera las instrucciones de cada receta, reforzando los comportamientos positivos que intento enseñar a mis alumnos. Cuando empiezas con verduras crudas y terminas con un producto acabado, puedes saborearlo (y sabe bien), eso entusiasma a mis alumnos. Están aprendiendo a seguir instrucciones y a perseverar porque, al final, habrá un gran premio. Ayuda a fomentar la motivación intrínseca de mis alumnos y les enseña que comer sano es bueno para la salud. Están aprendiendo que no hacen falta ingredientes extravagantes y caros para cocinar una comida sana. Puedes utilizar ingredientes procedentes de la tierra que sean baratos, abundantes y accesibles. Incluso puedes cultivarlas tú mismo.

Los alumnos pudieron conocer nuevas verduras que nunca habían probado. Una clase que nos dejó a todos boquiabiertos fue cuando cocinamos una receta de pasta con col rizada. En un momento dado, se hizo un silencio absoluto porque todo el mundo estaba comiendo. Lo único que se oía era: “¡Qué bueno está! Nunca pensé que la col rizada podría ser tan bueno! ” Al día siguiente, el padre de uno de mis alumnos utilizó col rizada en lugar de pan para hacerse un bocadillo. Están incorporando cambios en su estilo de vida y transmitiéndolos a la generación siguiente.

Creo que la forma en que mis alumnos entienden las verduras y la alimentación sana ha cambiado gracias a las clases de cocina de DUG. Muchos estudiantes pensaban que las verduras no son algo que les apetezca comer porque carecen de sabor y no les satisfacen lo suficiente. Antes de una de las clases, uno de mis alumnos me dijo: “Sra. Clayton, ¡creo que me han estropeado la bolsa! ¿Esta gente es vegetariana? ¿Por qué no hay carne?”. Le expliqué que las verduras son una buena fuente de vitaminas, minerales y calorías saludables. Le conté que hacía poco había ido al supermercado a comprar carne picada y que era tan cara que no podía permitírmela. Quiero que mis alumnos aprendan que puede llegar un momento en que no tengamos un acceso tan fácil a los alimentos que estamos acostumbrados a comer, pero que aún podemos mantenernos con los alimentos que vienen de la tierra, que son mejores para nosotros.

La única receta que cocinamos que no gustó a los alumnos llevaba rábanos y remolacha. Me dijeron: “Sra. Clayton, ¿podemos decir algo de verdad? Esto es repugnante”. Les expliqué que cada persona tiene una paleta diferente; a cada persona le gustan cosas diferentes. En otra clase, un alumno observó que algunas zanahorias tenían brotes. Dijeron: “¿Podemos comer esto? ¡Está deformado! ¿No significa eso que tiene pesticidas y no es bueno comerlo?”. Les dije que no todas las zanahorias crecen perfectamente de la tierra. Esa zanahoria “deforme” es tan nutritiva como cualquier otra. Les dije: “¡Pélalo, trocéalo y cómetelo!”. Y lo hicieron.

Las clases de cocina de DUG han creado un mayor sentido de comunidad en mi aula: con mis alumnos, con los padres y dentro de las propias unidades familiares. Nos hemos conocido compartiendo recetas familiares. Las ideas de los alumnos sobre la alimentación sana y los huertos comunitarios se han elevado a otro nivel. Mis alumnos incluso me preguntaron si podíamos empezar a cultivar un huerto en nuestro colegio y compartir los productos en su comedor con puestos de comida etiquetados con títulos como: “Estas zanahorias las han proporcionado los alumnos de tercero”. Este programa ha dado a mis alumnos un sentido de propiedad y entusiasmo por la agricultura, los alimentos naturales, la jardinería y la comunidad. Incluso hemos decidido continuar con las clases de cocina por nuestra cuenta una vez al mes”.

En la foto: La hija de La’Tara mostrando las recetas cocinadas en clase.

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2020 Outstanding Garden Leader Awards

By News

Each year, DUG recognizes Garden Leaders who have gone above-and-beyond as volunteers, stewards, organizers, and leaders in their community. We’re excited to share more about 2020’s outstanding Garden Leaders in the words of their community members themselves!

Bruce Loftis, Gables Community Garden

Bruce is always (always!) willing to help anyone and everyone with anything and everything that comes up.  He’ll help other gardeners prepare their plots, water when they’re on vacations, harvest, and clean up at the end of the season.  He’ll help with any projects that are happening with the students in the garden– and this year when we can’t do things in person with the students, he is always there to help plant, tend, and care for the school plots when students can’t be there with us. Bruce is always the first to volunteer when a task needs to be done, whether watering new trees or perennials, contacting gardeners, or sharing knowledge with other schools or groups interested in starting gardens of their own.  He is open to new ideas, he manages conflict well, he persists through difficult situations, and he cares about other people.  Best of all, Bruce always has a smile on his face and a pleasant greeting for everyone he meets.  We are so lucky to have Bruce as our Garden Leader and fellow gardener. 

Michael Lyster, Academia Sandoval Community Garden

Michael is a great leader who keeps us updated on DUG events and helps gather materials and resources for the garden.  He is a good gardener willing to share his ideas and experience.

His gardeners say: 

  • I love that he calls us all “farmers.”
  • I love that his/our response to the El Oasis sale was to make more space in our garden.
  • I love the eclectic and fun conversations we all have remotely now / in person before about gardening and its relation to all things important. 

Elaine Davis, Fletcher Community Garden

Elaine is a Master Community Gardener who  jumped into leading the Fletcher garden after the last leader left. She leads equitably and inclusively and has made a point of honoring the garden’s history and traditions.

Pallas Quist, Samuels Community Garden and DCIS Baker Community Garden:

Pallas has been a Garden Leader at Samuels since it was established in 2012. This year when her children started school at DCIS Baker, Pallas noticed the garden was underused and has spent the last few months giving the garden a facelift and getting it ready for students to plant in the spring!

Stephanie Sisnroy, Little Sprouts Community Garden:

We would like to give a shout out to Stephanie from the Little Elementary DUG. We have known Stephanie and her family for several years now. She is super organized and lets people contribute however they can. She has gotten people to share their expertise and has made the students at the school the main focus of learning. We have had several fall farmers markets and she has involved many community organizations to purchase plants and supplies from. Now with covid…we have had to adhere to some rules to continue to make the garden as Stephanie would say…our happy place. Her contributions have been endless and it is greatly appreciated. We appreciate being a part of this garden.

Lyric McKnight, KCAA Community Garden:

Lyric has been a part of the KCAA garden leadership since it was established in 2015. She is a DUG Master Community Gardener who shares her commitment to healthy living with her gardeners. This year when more people were facing food insecurity, Lyric responded by helping plant all the available garden plots for donation.

Premios a los Jardineros Destacados 2020

By Noticias

Cada año, DUG reconoce a los líderes de jardines que han ido más allá como voluntarios, administradores, organizadores y líderes en su comunidad. Nos complace compartir más información sobre los destacados Líderes de Jardines de 2020 en palabras de los propios miembros de sus comunidades.

Bruce Loftis, Jardín Comunitario de Gables

Bruce siempre (¡siempre!) está dispuesto a ayudar a cualquiera y a todos con cualquier cosa que surja. Ayudará a otros jardineros a preparar sus parcelas, regar cuando estén de vacaciones, cosechar y limpiar al final de la temporada. Ayudará con cualquier proyecto que se esté llevando a cabo con los estudiantes en el huerto – y este año, cuando no podemos hacer las cosas en persona con los estudiantes, siempre está ahí para ayudar a plantar, cuidar y atender las parcelas de la escuela cuando los estudiantes no pueden estar allí con nosotros. Bruce es siempre el primero en ofrecerse voluntario cuando hay que realizar una tarea, ya sea regar nuevos árboles o plantas perennes, ponerse en contacto con jardineros o compartir conocimientos con otras escuelas o grupos interesados en poner en marcha sus propios huertos. Está abierto a nuevas ideas, gestiona bien los conflictos, persiste en situaciones difíciles y se preocupa por los demás. Lo mejor de todo es que Bruce siempre tiene una sonrisa en la cara y un saludo agradable para todos los que conoce. Tenemos mucha suerte de contar con Bruce como jefe de jardines y jardinero.

Michael Lyster, Jardín Comunitario Academia Sandoval

Michael es un gran líder que nos mantiene al día de los eventos del DUG y nos ayuda a reunir materiales y recursos para el huerto. Es un buen jardinero dispuesto a compartir sus ideas y su experiencia.

Sus jardineros dicen:

  • Me encanta que nos llame a todos “granjeros”.
  • Me encanta que su/nuestra respuesta a la venta de El Oasis haya sido hacer más espacio en nuestro jardín.
  • Me encantan las conversaciones eclécticas y divertidas que mantenemos todos a distancia ahora / en persona antes sobre jardinería y su relación con todas las cosas importantes.

Elaine Davis Jardín Comunitario de Fletcher

Elaine es maestra jardinera comunitaria y se puso al frente del huerto de Fletcher tras la marcha del último responsable. Dirige de forma equitativa e integradora y se ha esforzado por honrar la historia y las tradiciones del jardín.

Pallas Quist, Jardín Comunitario Samuels y Jardín Comunitario DCIS Baker:

Pallas ha sido líder de jardín en Samuels desde su creación en 2012. Este año, cuando sus hijos empezaron la escuela en DCIS Baker, Pallas se dio cuenta de que el jardín estaba infrautilizado y ha pasado los últimos meses dándole un lavado de cara y preparándolo para que los estudiantes puedan plantar en primavera.

Stephanie Sisnroy, Jardín Comunitario Little Sprouts:

Nos gustaría saludar a Stephanie, del DUG de Little Elementary. Conocemos a Stephanie y a su familia desde hace varios años. Es superorganizada y deja que la gente contribuya como pueda. Ha conseguido que la gente comparta su experiencia y ha convertido a los alumnos de la escuela en el principal foco de aprendizaje. Hemos celebrado varios mercados agrícolas de otoño y ella ha involucrado a muchas organizaciones comunitarias a las que ha comprado plantas y suministros. Ahora con covid…hemos tenido que cumplir algunas normas para seguir haciendo del jardín como diría Stephanie…nuestro lugar feliz. Sus contribuciones han sido infinitas y se agradecen enormemente. Agradecemos formar parte de este jardín.

Lyric McKnight, Jardín Comunitario KCAA:

Lyric forma parte de la dirección del jardín KCAA desde su creación en 2015. Es maestra jardinera comunitaria del DUG y comparte su compromiso con la vida sana con sus jardineros. Este año, cuando más personas se enfrentaban a la inseguridad alimentaria, Lyric respondió ayudando a plantar todas las parcelas disponibles para donaciones.

Jardinería con propósito

By Noticias

Cada año se cultivan en los huertos de DUG más de 600.000 libras de alimentos, de las que alrededor del 10% (o 60.000) se donan a bancos de alimentos y organizaciones comunitarias locales. Durante losúltimos 23 años, DUG también ha distribuido decenas de miles de semillas y plantas de semillero gratuitas y de bajo coste cada primavera a los residentes del área metropolitana de Denver para que puedan cultivar sus propios alimentos a través de nuestros
Programa “Cultive un huerto”.

Obtenga más información sobre cómo DUG proporciona los recursos y la educación para ayudar a los residentes del área metropolitana de Denver a cultivar alimentos saludables para ellos y sus vecinos a continuación.

Gardening for Purpose

By News

Every year, more than 600,000 pounds of food are grown in DUG gardens, with around 10% (or 60,000) pounds donated to local food banks and community organizations. For the last 23 years, DUG has also distributed tens of thousands of free and low-cost seeds and seedlings every spring to metro Denver residents to be able to grow their own food through our Grow a Garden program.

Learn more about how DUG provides the resources and education to help metro Denver residents grow healthy food for themselves and their neighbors below.

DUG + Slow Food Denver partner for virtual cooking classes

By News

DUG is cooking up virtual fun with Slow Food Denver!

This fall, we have been piloting new online cooking classes in partnership with Slow Food Denver as part of our Healthy Food for Denver Kid’s grant.

For four weeks, we supplied 139 3rd and 4th grade students at Fairview Elementary, Swansea Elementary, and Maxwell Elementary with the ingredients and tools needed to cook fresh, made-from-scratch meals at home using produce sourced from local farms. Each child participating in the program received produce for the week to feed a family of 6.

In partnership with Slow Food Denver, we supported teachers as they delivered virtual cooking instructions (in both English and Spanish!) for how to prepare four different meals, including seasonal vegetable soup, root veggie tacos, braised greens with pasta, and pupusas with curtido sauce!

The classes were a hit and we’re currently undergoing project evaluation as we prepare for the next round of classes!

Be sure to also check out our Faces of DUG highlight of La’Tara, a 3rd grade teacher at Swansea Elementary who participated in the program!

Our Virtual Cooking Classes by the Number

DUG y Slow Food Denver se asocian para impartir clases virtuales de cocina

By Noticias

¡DUG prepara diversión virtual con Slow Food Denver!

Este otoño, hemos estado probando nuevas clases de cocina en línea en colaboración con Slow Food Denver como parte de nuestra subvención Healthy Food for Denver Kid’s.

Durante cuatro semanas, proporcionamos a 139 alumnos de 3º y 4º curso de las escuelas Fairview Elementary, Swansea Elementary y Maxwell Elementary los ingredientes y utensilios necesarios para cocinar en casa platos recién hechos con productos procedentes de granjas locales. Cada niño participante en el programa recibió productos para alimentar a una familia de 6 miembros.

En colaboración con Slow Food Denver, apoyamos a los profesores mientras impartían instrucciones de cocina virtuales (¡tanto en inglés como en español!) para preparar cuatro platos diferentes, entre ellos sopa de verduras de temporada, tacos de tubérculos, verduras estofadas con pasta y pupusas con salsa de curtido.

Las clases fueron un éxito y actualmente estamos evaluando el proyecto mientras nos preparamos para la próxima ronda de clases.

No te pierdas tampoco nuestro reportaje sobre “Las caras del DUG” de La’Tara, una profesora de 3º de primaria de Swansea que participó en el programa.

Nuestras clases virtuales de cocina por números

Gardening for mental wellbeing

By Faces of DUG

#15: Meet Anna, DUG program intern, Bruce Randolph Community Garden

“My family had a garden growing up in southern Louisiana. I Ioved harvesting, watering, and watching our plants grow since I was a little girl. In college, I built raised beds and grew most of my own produce. It was more of a means of survival at that time in my life, but it turned out that gardening was my refuge, as well. It was a time for me to think, be still, listen to music, get my hands dirty, and witness life. The resiliency of plants has always been a motivator for me to keep going, even when life gets really tough. I am part of a DUG garden now, and I absolutely love it! I live close by, so it has been so nice to get off work and ride my bike, look at my babies grow, and be a part of a group of people looking to make a positive change in the world. It is beautiful.

I found out about DUG a few years ago, did some volunteer work, and interned in the spring of 2020. It was life-changing. Even in the midst of COVID when the city shutting down, I was so honored to be part of a team that pivoted to increase food access across the Denver area. My brain works in the way that I always want things totally figured out, in order, and planned out to the tiniest detail. It was such a challenge for me personally to learn to look beyond the plan, learn that there are so many people and organizations looking to impact change in similar ways, and realize that big things can happen when you let go and trust.

I’ve always dealt with a lot of anxiety and depression in my life, and that only got worse for me throughout my career. Gardening has always been my safe space. A time just for me. It has taught me to slow down, to be comfortable doing one thing at a time, to look, listen, and be thankful for every second I have on this earth. It has taught me to be okay with slow progress, to look for the little joys in life, and to celebrate growth in all shapes and forms. My experiences with gardening have affected me so much that I decided to make a big career change because of the way connecting with the earth made me feel. I now work in horticulture and floral design and feel so honored to get to give back to a planet that gives so much to me on a daily basis.”

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