The following post was written by Rebecca Meekins, our rockstar sweetgreen in schools intern. Today marks Rebecca’s last day at sweetgreen before moving on to a new curriculum development role with the Global Aid Network, a missions-based humanitarian aid organization that works with developing countries. Please join us in saying thanks and wishing Rebecca the best of luck!
For the past school year, I have been responsible for teaching our sweetgreen in schools curriculum to the students at the two different elementary schools in DC: Capital City Public Charter School and Seaton Elementary. It has been a blast helping the children learn about everything from nutrition to sustainability, and watching them get excited about eating salads –- they’ve even started asking for seconds!
One of my favorite parts of the program was bringing some of the students on a class trip to sweetlife, where they participated in various hands-on activities with our partners: learning how to knead dough with Bakery de France, attending a private acoustic set by Austin Bis at the schoolhouse, taste testing local strawberries with Fresh Farm, and helping local artist Kelly Towles paint an on-site mural.
Some other highlights from the end of the year include…
1. These sweet postcards written by the students at Seaton Elementary:
2. This amazing ‘veggie rap’ created and performed by the students at Capital City Public Charter:
As I close out my year as an intern, I am so thankful that I was able to work with sweetgreen in schools and can’t wait to see where the program will head next!
Today marks the official opening our 17th location, sweetgreen 14 + W! To celebrate our first day in this new, amazing community, we wanted to do something a little bit special. Today only, you will be able to ‘pay what you want’ for your sweetgreen meal, with all proceeds benefitting sweetgreen in schools.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, sweetgreen in schools is a series of interactive classes held at various elementary schools throughout DC, in collaboration with DC Farm to School. Students learn about nutrition, the importance of local sourcing, and how to take charge of their own health through fun, hands-on activities.
Our doors will be open from 11am – 10pm today, so please stop by 1325 W St. NW and help us support our mission to educate a younger generation about healthy eating!
This past Friday, we taught the students of Capital City Public Charter School about how they can help out their communities by recycling and composting. They learned that compost contains many nutrients that help plants grow, just like fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that help people grow.
After making a salad using ingredients such as spinach, beets, cucumbers, and raw seeds, the students headed out to the school garden to put what they had learned about compost gardening into practice. At the end of the day, a beautiful new garden was planted, including many of the vegetables from their salad that day!
Earlier today, the students of Capital City Public Charter School used what we’ve been teaching them about fruits and vegetables to stir up some friendly competition.
After being split up into groups, each team built its own custom salad using healthy, nutritious ingredients like grapes, carrots, corn and spicy broccoli. In the end, the teams presented their final creations to our panel of sweetgreen judges. Rewards and prizes were given for the salads that were most colorful, most seasonal, tastiest, and had the highest ANDI score. We saw some pretty awesome salads – great job guys!
Last Friday, the students at Capital City Public Charter School learned all about seasonal eating. They brainstormed about which fruits and vegetables they thought grew in each season and then looked at a seasonal calendar to see when the produce actually grows. The students were surprised to learn that not all fruits and veggies grow in every season.
After completing a “birthday salad” workbook activity, where the kids used the produce that is in season during their birthday month to draw a salad, they created their own lunch with produce items representing all four seasons. Ingredients included onions, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Yum!
Last week, the students at Capital City Public Charter School learned about different parts of fruits and vegetables and what functions they provide for the plants they come from. They also discovered how super foods fuel different parts of the body to make one, great Defender of Wellness. The day ended with the children making their own custom sweetgreen salads utilizing all the healthy, energizing ingredients they had learned about. It was definitely a delicious day in the sweetgreen in schools classroom!
Launching its third year, sweetgreen in schools has taken over Capital City Public Charter School. This is our way of giving back to the community, while educating kids about healthy eating. Throughout the school year, students will learn about the importance of sourcing local and seasonal produce, ANDI nutritional scores, the value of composting and recycling, and many other lessons about the food they eat.
We hope to inspire children to become aware of the food choices they can make and to learn to love fruits and vegetables because they want to treat their bodies with care. Each lesson has been crafted to combine the elements of heathy eating and sweet living, and at the end of the school year, the students will pay a visit to our 4th annual sweetlife festival where they will put all of their new knowledge to the test.
As our charity partner, sweetgreen selects the DC Farm to School Network, a collaborator for sweetgreen in schools. The Network’s programs aim to increase access to healthy, local and sustainable foods in all Washington, DC schools and to reconnect children to where their food comes from. Since the program’s inception in October 2010, sweetgreen in schools has been implemented in numerous local elementary schools throughout the DC area.
On Friday, the students learned about the fruit and vegetable color wheel, and the nutrients and energy they can get from different produce. Stay tuned to find out what our sweet students are doing throughout the rest of the year!
A few weeks ago, we returned to Ketcham Elementary and Kenilworth Elementary Schools to teach the second class of our series, “Edible Plant Parts!” While we discussed the essential functions of different plant parts, students were able to see, dissect, and even taste freshly-harvested produce from the farm at Walker Jones Elementary (Thank you D.C. Farm to School Network for bringing those along!). They kept the 5-foot tall sunflower for their classroom and brought home lima beans to plant in their backyards. Afterwards, we harnessed our detective skills to play a Mystery Fruits and Veggies game. Students were split into groups with each group receiving an unknown item. They had to race each other to guess the name of the mysterious substance and what plant part it came from using their taste buds, fingertips, and eyes only. Finally, our enthusiastic taste-testers put their skills to work. The plant part salad incorporated leaves (spinach), fruits (peaches), roots (radishes), and seeds (sunflower seeds and corn). Students finished the day by writing letters to Sweetgreen, giving their opinions about the day’s healthy treat. Just like last week, they concluded that it was a hit.
Students got their hands dirty with fruits, veggies, and flowers from the farm:
After two amazingly fun classes together, we were fortunate enough to host the fourth graders from Ketcham Elementary School at our Capitol Hill location on July 29 (see above photo). To recap, during the previous two meetings we learned about the health benefits of eating fruits and veggies from a rainbow of colors, and fun ways to integrate different plant parts into our diets. Upon arrival to our store, students were faced with an “iron chef”-like challenge. Using the knowledge from two previous classes, a wide range of ingredients and 15 minutes, they had to use their noggins to make their own Sweetgreen creation. Students were excited to finally take the initiative and taste-test different combinations of ingredients for their salads. They were surprised to find new ingredients like hearts of palm, red and green bell peppers and parmesan crisps!
A very special panel of judges joined us for the day: Allison Sosna, head chef of D.C. Central Kitchen; Nicolas Jammet, co-founder of Sweetgreen; Keith Williams, general manager of the Cap Hill Sweetgreen; and Monique Simmons, summer program coordinator at Ketcham Elementary. In their presentations, each group stated what colors they used in their salads, which plant parts were represented and why they believe their creation should reign supreme. One of our favorite responses was “We worked together to make this salad.”- a big thumbs up for group work! The judges tasted, scored and deliberated while the students eagerly anticipated the result. Congratulations to the young boys of Group 3 for a job well done! To finish off a hard day of work, students snacked on a much deserved treat- some cool and refreshing Sweetflow. The day ended up being an immense success and, most importantly, the students definitely had a great time.
We want to thank the students, Ketcham school administrators, Sweetgreen staff, D.C. Farm to School Network, Honest Tea, DCCK and all of our advocates for a wonderful summer. It is with your encouragement and support that Sweetgreen in Schools has been able to develop and grow. Time to get excited for the fall!
One group debates about what to include in their spinach salad:
If you were at The Sweetlife Festival, you may have wondered what the adorable group of kids was doing running around Meriweather Post Pavilion. Sweetgreen invited the third graders of Cleveland Elementary to come to the Festival for a special field trip as the culmination of the sweetgreen in school series. Throughout the semester, the students learned key messages about nutrition, health, and “where food comes from” through hands-on activities tied to educational standards.
We arrived at the Sweetlife Festival with the kids in a big, yellow school bus. The kids enjoyed a great day of food, play and activation. The tour first stopped at OPOWER where the kids had a hula hoop competition, heard about energy efficiency, and got goodie bags filled with environmentally friendly items, such as beach balls, Frisbees, and glow sticks. We then stopped at Applegate where the kids painted their artistic designs on the Canvas Wall.
It was then lunchtime! The kids sat at the picnic tables and enjoyed a delicious and wholesome lunch of Applegate hot dogs. The tour then made its way over to Honest Tea, where the kids quenched their thirsts with a variety of refreshing flavors. There, they threw on hats, grabbed props, and held up signs to take a fun picture. Instead of saying “cheese” when smiling for the photos, the kids said “kale” (the vegetable that had been their favorite throughout the semester). Next, we stopped at the sweetgreen Farmers’ Market Stall showcasing spinach, radishes, arugula, asparagus, strawberries, golden tomatoes, and mint. We had a talk about how these fruits and vegetables are in season now (the kids had learned about eating seasonally with the “Eat with the Seasons” lesson plan earlier in the semester). We also talked about how these fruits and vegetables are good for their bodies and can help them grow strong and give them energy. The tour finished with a stop at Sweetflow Mobile where the kids ate some yummy yogurt and then headed back to the school bus.
It was incredible to see the enthusiasm and interest from the kids at The Sweetlife Festival and throughout the semester. The first run of sweetgreen in schools this semester has been a great success and an extremely rewarding experience on both sides of the partnership. It has been a pleasure to get to work with such a great group of kids and faculty – we were thrilled to have them at The Sweetlife Festival and we are excited for the future of sweetgreen in schools!
Owners NIc and Nate, Chef Jaime and Carly with the kids