Hello Farm to Cafeteria Network!
My name is Gilly Levy, a dietetic intern with Montana State University. I am currently in my two-week rotation with NCAT working with Kei Matsunami. Throughout my two weeks, I will work on multiple projects, including assisting the Harvest of the Month (HOM) Early Care and Education curriculum and case study development and further developing a Farm to Cafeteria program started by a fellow intern.
Before I began my journey in the nutrition field as a dietetic intern, I sparked my interest in the sustainable food system and public health interning with the non-profit Gallatin Valley Farm to School. I had the best summer ever teaching kids on the Bozonze Ozone Bus (a mobile greenhouse bus) about where food comes from, how to plant and grow food, and how to make healthy choices for our bodies. It was the first time I realized that I loved working with and educating children! Seeing kids learn how to plant seeds entirely on their own, and then trying a ripe, locally grown cherry tomato for the first time is an experience I will never forget!
At the end of the summer, I was so excited to be hired as the Bozone Ozone Bus Program Coordinator and a HOM educator and continue doing what I loved! I loved getting to teach the HOM lessons because I felt like I could apply my nutrition education while teaching the kids about the nutrients in the foods and why nutrition was necessary. Each month’s HOM curriculum revolves around the learning requirements of the grade level, so each grade has a unique lesson plan. Each lesson also incorporates a nutrition lesson, an interactive, hands-on activity, and a taste test for students to have a chance to taste the local food of discussion.
One of the grades I taught was kindergarten, so it was always surprising to me that the students remembered the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients I taught them about from the previous month. It was so meaningful to know I was able to have an impact on their nutrition education at a young age because I personally believe that nutrition education is important to preventing many of the chronic nutrition-related diseases we see in our society today. My time with Gallatin Valley Farm to School ended up being a perfect combination of nutrition education and education about a local, sustainable food system.
The Harvest of the Month program highlights one Montana grown food monthly and provides engaging activities and resources for students, teachers, school foodservice staff and parents. To learn more or register for the program visit this link.