Growing food for growing kids

MARSHALL – Children attending a gardening and nutrition class Thursday morning got a chance to see where their food comes from and how it comes to be. The class, paid for by a Hy-Vee One Step Community Garden Grant and led by Marshall Hy-Vee’s registered dietician Katie Koerner, was held at the Western Community Action garden near the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Saratoga Street.

Koerner said that this was just the first of three classes that will be held at the garden and that so far it has been “really fun. We’re so excited to have kids coming out.” Koerner discussed how a well-balanced diet can help kids “grow big and strong” and showed kids how food is grown. The kids in Thursday’s class got a chance to pick and eat strawberries and try fresh peas.

“It helps them understand where their food comes from,” Koerner said.

“For a well-balanced diet, half the plate should be fruits and vegetables,” Koerner said as she held up a plate with a diagram showing how much fruit, vegetables, proteins and grains should be eaten at a meal.

“What sound does a fresh pea pod make when you eat it?” Koerner asked the kids. They held up the peas they were eating and replied “crunch, crunch, crunch!”

Siblings Jasmine, Marisol and Edgar Antunez attended the class Thursday morning and said their favorite part was getting to pick and eat fresh strawberries from the garden.

“We learned how to grow vegetables and how vegetables taste good,” Marisol Antunez said. “And how we need to eat veggies and proteins and grains and dairy, too.”

“And how to pick strawberries,” Jasmine Antunez said. She and her brother Edgar enjoyed the chance to try the fresh strawberries they picked earlier in the morning.

“They’re best when they taste sour,” said Edgar Antunez. He also said that he and his sisters help their dad garden tomatoes and peppers.

Koerner said that any interested children can attend future classes and that their parents can sign them up at customer service at Hy-Vee. Classes for kids grades K-3 will be July 14 and 28, and classes for kids grades 4-6 will be July 10 and 24.