Hello readers of the Midwest Food Connection’s blog! I’m Jenni Rogan, a sophomore at Carleton College interested in food and environmental education. I’ve done a lot of environmental education in the past, from running an after-school gardening program to working as a camp counselor for nature camps, but none have been quite like my externship with the Midwest Food Connection! For the past two weeks, I’ve been shadowing and assisting the MFC educators in classrooms across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Here are 10 observations I’ve made over the course of my two weeks, in addition to some pictures I took while visiting different schools:

  1. Seeing kids (and teachers!) make connections between what they are learning about in their classroom or outside the classroom and what that day’s MFC lesson is on (Northrop Environmental Learning Center, 5th grade)
  2. Hearing a student ask a question about whether ethanol was a cleaner source of energy than fossil fuels in terms of gasoline, something that Emily Houser (MFC) and I both did not know the answer to (Northrop Environmental Learning Center, 5th grade)
  3. Coming up to a table while the students were drawing and hearing one of the students retell the story of “How the Hidatsa Came to Know Corn” to a fellow classmate (Expo Elementary School, 1st grade)Students illustrating a scene from "How the Hidatsa Came to Know Corn"
  4. Helping students with their drawings, including teaching them different ways of how to draw arrows (Expo Elementary School, 1st grade)
  5. Watching kids use their “time travel watches” to turn back time 100 years for a story and, after they tried their winter vegetable stew, hearing one student exclaim “I’m the president and I order this to be every single day!” (Lake Harriet Lower School, Kindergarten)
  6. Examining shapes students made during their pasta lesson, including almost 70 tiny circles, bowties, and letters that spelled out the student’s name and, later, watching students experience tasting pasta they helped to make (Pratt Community School, 2nd and 3rd)pastashapes
  7. Standing at the front of a middle school classroom to explain the different components of the trail mix they would be trying (Anwatin Middle School, 6th grade)middleschool
  8. Chuckling at student’s shock when they learned that ketchup has sugar in it (Sky Oaks Elementary School, 3rd grade)
  9. Having students wave to me later in the day after the lessonskyoaks
  10. Observing the awesome teaching skills of all the Midwest Food Connection’s educators!

These two weeks have been incredible and I have learned so much about what it means to be a food educator. Thank you to the Midwest Food Connection and Carleton’s externship program for this amazing opportunity!