Here are some photos from my visit to Frost Lake Elementary this January, exploring and tasting some new fruit in our “Global Fruit Picking” lesson.

Ever wondered just how Midwest Food Connection is able to reach students all over the Twin Cities with our culinary adventures in the classroom and garden? One of the most common questions I get when I tell people what I do is, “how does that work?”

Our program reaches hundreds of metro-area elementary and middle school students each year thanks to our sponsorship by five local natural food co-ops (Seward, the Wedge, Mississippi Market, Linden Hills Co-op, and Valley Natural Foods) and thanks to donations from supporters like you.

We have lasting relationships with teachers at several schools where we have been working since Midwest Food Connection’s inception in the mid-1990s. Other schools have learned about the magic of our visits by word of mouth and at school garden and nutrition-related events. Our five sponsoring co-ops have specified target schools geographically near the co-ops or with populations they’d like to reach.

If time and resources allow, a MFC educator schedules four sequential weekly visits to each classroom that has requested lessons. As traveling food teachers, we bring the tools, supplies, and ingredients to create simple, tasty, and healthful snacks in each classroom. Each lesson also features cultural and historical context, movement or singing, and art. We currently rotate through four seasonal series of lessons, as well as a middle school series.

Your generous donations during Give to the Max day last November allowed us to reach students we might not have otherwise been able to. We directed funds to two non-target schools that requested a visit but would have otherwise had to pay for our programming, Frost Lake Elementary and Anwatin Middle School.

Students and teachers at both schools were very grateful to have us, just as we are very grateful for your continued support for our program and our growth into new platforms for reaching students and their families. The next few years will see MFC expanding our family programming and online presence.