VISTA Stories: DECEMBER 2009

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Cool! Broccoli!

By Jenny Lue, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

As I watched the children from Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s Early Childhood Center stream into the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) site, I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. Exclamations of, “It smells so good in here!” and “Cool! Broccoli!” caught me off guard; I had become accustomed to many children’s distaste for all things green and leafy. However, putting the same items into crates and explaining that a farmer lovingly nurtured them so that people in the city could have access to fresh and pesticide-free vegetables changed their minds.  They touched the leeks, smelled the thyme, and marveled at the size of the kale before selecting some vegetables to take back with them for lunch the next day. Later, a food services staff member told me that he couldn’t believe how happily the children devoured their beets and leeks. Before their visit to the CSA, if he had tried to serve such fare the children would have refused to eat it.

I am currently working on setting up a system for next season so that the CSA can accept food stamps. This would give parents of the children in the Early Childhood Center and recipients of food stamps the opportunity to join the CSA. Linking low-income individuals and families to fresh, quality food and nutrition information is my main priority as the Nutrition Outreach Coordinator and I have been enjoying working towards that goal.