Dig with a Dietitian – Fall Recap

Posted on November 13th, 2017

The air is a little colder, the nights come a little sooner, and the leaves are falling…. which can only mean that we are coming to an end for fall and our Dig with a Dietitian classes (we will be back in 2018).

These classes were a new venture in 2017 starting as a pilot in September. As a dietitian it is obvious that I love food but I truly do love learning everything about our food like where it came from, what influences the growth of our food, the farmers who grow it all, how it impacts our environment, the passage from farm to market, food security for our communities, and what happens with all that food once it makes it to the kitchen. As a child I grew up around my grandpa’s <large> garden and I believe this exposure at a young age really helped me understand the work and dedication that goes into getting food into our stores and fueling my personal passion for gardening. In my free time I volunteer at the Broken Arrow Neighbors Community Garden and the more time I spent there I pondered to myself what a wonderful opportunity we have at this community garden to be able to connect all the great things we are teaching to children about nutrition as Reasor’s Registered Dietitians and the hands on experience of gardening to making learning even more fun and memorable, thus the Dig with a Dietitian classes were born. Majority of children, like us adults, understand that fruits and vegetables are healthy but according to the CDC 93% of children don’t eat enough vegetables each day and 60% are not eating enough fruit. The great thing is that research does support that fruit and vegetable consumption goes up in kids who are engaged in the process, like growing their own food, cooking in the kitchen, and sharing mealtime with their family. So it is in my greatest hopes that this hands-on experience can not only teach our community’s children about healthy nutrition but also reinforce those healthy choices outside the garden.

It fills me with joy to think about all of the great things that have come about as a result of these Dig with a Dietitian classes – they help educate the youngest members of our local community on food and nutrition (yay!), their hard work during these classes help the growth of the community garden which provides fresh produce options at the food pantry inside Broken Arrow Neighbors for those in need, incorporates other community learning programs for kids (we love our local libraries!), and finally gives Broken Arrow High School National Honor Society students the opportunity to fulfill their community service hours.

Here are all the important details of these classes, in case you missed out this fall:

  • Offering of one to two classes every month (March – November)
  • All classes are free!!  😛
  • Every class includes a short food/nutrition lesson and a hands-on experience in the garden
  • Every ‘student’ gets a fun treat specific to our class for attending and one or two lucky kiddos will win a ‘Dig with a Dietitian’ branded mug or keychain!
  • Weather and time permitting each class will include a tour of the Broken Arrow Neighbors facility (including the walk-in freezer – a kid favorite!)
  • Registration is quick and easy on the Reasor’s website – you can check here to see and register for any and all of our upcoming class

And finally a quick summary of all the great things our local kids did this fall in the garden…..

Seeds of Nutrition

As the very first class offered we learned about how fruits and vegetables start, the importance of healthy nutrition for plants and children, and the different parts of a plant. Each child planted seeds for a fall/winter harvest in the garden and were able to create their own cilantro sprout houses to take home.

Gardens, Gourds, and Goblins

           

Designed for the older kiddos, we learned about why seasons change, using our five senses, the different types of taste, and the importance of cover crops for soil nutrition. Every child got to learn and explore the Broken Arrow Neighbors facility and plant cover crops in the garden.

Creepy Crawly Critters

   

This class was made for kids 6 years and younger. We started off with a buggy story time from our local library. Kids learned about the different bugs and insects in the garden and even did a scavenger hunt. We saw lots of ladybugs and Halloween costumes at this class!

Playing in the Dirt!

The final class of 2017 was about all things soil – the different types of soil, nutrients to improve soil, composting, and what types of foods we can compost to help reduce waste. Participants were able to work in the big dirt pile tilling and shoveling dirt into wheel barrels to fill in low spots in the garden and the compost, turn the compost for the first time ever, and most excitingly for the kiddos was to water (hydrate) the entire garden.

A special thank you to everyone who helped make these classes successful and all the kiddos who joined me this fall in the garden. Join us in the spring for a whole new series of #DigwithaDietitian classes!

About the Blogger:

Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and is a board eligible Certified Specialist in Pediatrics. She is an avid gardener and loves all things food! Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and covers the 101st & Elm location Reasor’s for all of your food & nutrition needs.

Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy diet. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian’s opinions and recommendations are of their own; they are not paid to endorse any products.