Fillmore County Middle School Health Conference

Educator: Catherine Baker

Organization: Lanesboro Local, Fillmore County, MN

Subjects: Nonprofit

Grade: 7-8

Number of students: 250

Website: www.lanesborolocal.org

How are you teaching about food, health, and sustainability?
The county health department cooperates with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center and volunteer resources to put on an annual two-day conference for all seventh and eighth graders in the county. The theme is health–mental, physical, and environmental, including fitness, nutrition, and food-related issues. My task was to act as a facilitator, to share information and generate discussion about food choices and local food sources.

How are you using the Nourish resources?
After setting up the subject of nutrition and health, I played clips from Nourish to stimulate discussion and raise awareness of ways students could make better food choices and improve choices that affect their family members and others around them, their future lifestyle, and even career choices.

What activities, projects, or inquiry questions have students engaged in
Students left the conference with a list of further reading suggestions including Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and other age-appropriate books on the subject of food. Plus, the takeaway list included many websites–with Nourish as a number one recommendation. Websites with video clips make it easy to hear from many perspectives the multitude of reasons to think about the important impact of food on health–the very real need to Vote with Your Fork.

What effect has Nourish had on your students’ understanding of food system issues?
As students in a rural setting, these students are uniquely lucky. They can choose to attend college, educate themselves about a subject related to the food system, and return to their family farms to put what they learn into action–to make real change in the next generation. They have access to land and hands-on family knowledge of farming, gardening, cooking, food preservation, and other subjects that most of us have lost. They are our best hope.

What conversations have resulted from using Nourish? What are some next steps?
Talk about farming, their opportunities to improve farming practices as well as eating choices. The venue is an annual conference that reaches every student in the school system.

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