How did you get started?
In Primary School this year, we were introduced to the Ambassadeurs en Herbe competition. Two of our members, Melanie and Tiwani, were jurors for the selection of the fifth-grade team. The rest of us tried out for the team. We all had to answer one question, “How does eating strawberries affect the climate?” We all had to study facts, and we really liked what we learned. Mrs. Ardid wanted to create a group for the students who were interested in the topic.
So, how does eating strawberries affect the climate?
In the winter, strawberries don’t come from New York. We use greenhouses to grow them, and we put black plastic over them to absorb the sunlight. When the strawberries are harvested, we have to throw that plastic away, and it goes into the garbage. Also, the strawberries come to New York from California by truck and then by airplanes, which are refrigerated. That uses a lot of energy and pollutes a lot!
You had a successful booth at the school’s Spring Fair.
Yes, we had a big booth, and the mothers of Aminata, Lucie and Remy helped to run it. We made glitter tattoos of seasonal fruits and vegetables. We sold 200 of them. It was such a success that we ran out! We also made sand art bottles in the shape of fruits like grapes, watermelon, pears and bananas. We went to the farmer’s market on 82nd Street and bought herbs and vegetables to show in our stand. Remy’s mother made a special salad that people really liked. We raised over $1,000 for the school at our booth.
That’s wonderful. Are you willing to share the recipe for the salad?
Yes, it was really good, and all of the ingredients are organic and seasonal! It has kale, spinach, golden apples, feta cheese, and a special secret vinaigrette made with olive oil and apple cider from the farmer’s market! By the way, did you know that there are something like 10,000 different kinds of apples?
What else are you doing?
We created a blog about eating seasonally, and each of us has our own page on the blog. We also put a big poster outside the school cafeteria that names a seasonal fruit and vegetable of the month. Mrs. Ardid bought special strawberry seedlings, and we planted three different pots of them on the sixth-floor garden in Secondary. They are just starting to get ripe. There are now four or five strawberries that are red!
Did I see a Seasonal Seven poster in the Green Bean Cafe?
You did! We created a special Seasonal Seven seal. We have visited many different food stores near the school. We met with the people who work there. If they are using seasonal and local ingredients in their food, we give them the Seasonal Seven seal of approval. So far we have given it to Beanocchio, Ottomanelli Brothers, Le Moulin à Cafe, Green Bean Cafe and we plan on having more!
Sounds like great advice on where to buy food near the school. We hope you can continue this work. What are your plans for the future?
We really want to stay together next year when we move to sixth grade. We have to think about how we are organized and might launch a club so other students in the school can participate.
What will you be eating this summer?
This summer peaches, nectarines, and plums will all be in season. We will also be eating tomatoes and asparagus (we are really eating that now, because asparagus is in season).
No ice cream?
Yes! But, the only kind of ice cream that can be “seasonal” is sorbet and fruit-flavored frozen yogurt…