It’s a wrap! And I’m not talking about the delicious Rainbow Veggie wraps Farm to Kids students made – our Spring session has come to an end. I’m Ms.Barbie, Farm-to-Kids assistant educator, and I am excited to tell you how things went.

This spring, our Farm-to-Kids students embarked on a journey to explore Texas’s local food system. They didn’t just learn about it; they experienced it, from cutting vegetables to flipping their pancakes! They also had the unique opportunity to tour Austin Community College’s thriving sustainable farm and shop at Elgin Farmers Market to gain a deeper understanding of where our food comes from. 

Although this was my first time meeting the students, there were many returning faces excited to be in Farm-to-Kids classes. Students would walk into the classroom looking forward to the cooking activity of the day.  “Ms., what are we cooking today? Are we cooking ____ again? Eager to start the lesson, they would try to volunteer for specific roles, “I wanna do the salsa! Can I flip the tortillas?” Every student was given a role and reminded that each job is still important no matter how big or small it is. Many of our students enjoyed making a new recipe, mild avocado salsa, which for some was their first time trying avocado. The salsa also caught the students who said they didn’t like avocados by surprise. Another student’s favorite recipe was making pesto sauce with carrot top greens, which was so delicious that students scraped the food processor clean!

The middle and high school students had the opportunity to end the Spring session by competing in a “Top Chef Challenge.” Students were separated into two teams and had to put together a dish using 3 local ingredients. They came up with a variety of tasty dishes. Many of the students were surprised with their creations as they thought they couldn’t make a dish out of random ingredients. Who knew they were going to use ingredients that were meant to throw them off?

The Farm-to-Kids program extends beyond giving students hands-on cooking experience. Elgin’s middle and high school students toured Austin Community College’s Elgin Sustainable Farm, which allowed many students to visit a local farm and harvest vegetables for the first time. Students shared that they enjoyed harvesting carrots and onions and meeting ACC’s newest addition to the farm, Hyline Brown laying hens.

Lastly, Farm-to-Kids gave students the opportunity to support local farmers by bringing them to the Elgin Farmers Market where students tasted and described local produce using their five senses before exploring the market and purchasing locally-grown food with special tokens sponsored by TCLF. Many students stepped out of their comfort zones and bought veggies that they’d never had before. They later reported that their parents made something delicious from the veggies they purchased.

As a first-time educator, I am thrilled to share that I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling experience than this! It was amazing seeing the students try new things and get a better understanding of our local food system. Thank you to the students, the food, and most importantly the farmers! We couldn’t have done this without you.

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