Midwest Food Connection teaches every grade level at Northrop Urban Environmental Center. This winter, we asked Northrop 5th graders to reflect on everything they’ve learned with Midwest Food Connection over the years! Many shared the joy of discovering new foods and realizing that healthy foods can taste delicious too.

  • “So, I’m quite a picky eater, I basically only eat carbs. But this year in 5th grade we made some healthy pizza. I really liked it! It’s like my favorite food now! Luckily Midwest Food Connection sent me home with a recipe so now I make it every once in a while!” – Frances
  • “I liked when we made the salads because I haven’t liked salads before, but now I know what salad dressing I like and what type of salad I like.” – Calvin 
  • “I liked when we made the salad because I learned what kind of salad dressing I liked and what I like in my salad. I like Midwest Food Connection because you learn more about food that you eat.” – Northrop student, 5th grade


For many students, the learning they did in Midwest Food Connection lessons transferred back home. After bringing home a recipe and newfound enthusiasm for healthy eating, families incorporated new foods into their home cooking.

  • “I remember my brother doing an MFC lesson where he made a salad, and he really liked the salad dressing. We now always have that salad dressing in our fridge. I love trying new foods, and I think that MFC is a great way to learn about food, make food, and taste it.” – Griffin Larson
  • “When we made pizza with Mr. Uli and then that inspired me to start a new hobby with my mom. We started cooking together and we still do.” – Noel

Some of the 5th graders specifically pointed out how they became healthier eaters because of our program. Proof that food education gives children the skills to eat health for their entire lives!

  • “When I’ve started eating salads because of Midwest Food Connection, that’s just made my diet a lot healthier.” – Noel
  • “My favorite part of Midwest Food Connection was probably the food. I probably wouldn’t have liked vegetables, or any veggies, because I don’t know I just probably wouldn’t if it wasn’t for them.” –Sophia
  • “[Midwest Food Connection] helped me learn about food that’s healthy or not. About certain Vegetables, fruit, and flowers. This program made me happy and helped me enjoy nature more.” – Josh

Lastly, these 5th graders listed many things they’ve learned over the years — from developing cooking and gardening skills, to learning about local food systems and food co-ops.

  • “Midwest Food Connection teaches you how to prepare food and gives you recipes, and so you have some life skills on how to use some cooking tools and recipes to use too.” –Maggie
  • “My favorite thing we did in Midwest Food Connection was when we made our winter stew. It had all food that grows local and in the winter. I also liked making salads and gardening and trying new foods.” –Northrop Student, 5th grade 
  • “Earlier this year, we had Ms Emily and we did a lesson on co-ops. Now I know what it would be like to be a part of a co-op and if I wanted to later, I would join a co-op.” – Sadie 

These reflections are a ringing endorsement of food education in the schools. They remind us that there are hundreds of students across Minnesota who do not have access to food education. Without programs like Midwest Food Connection, students don’t have the opportunity to try new foods, develop life skills, learn about the environmental impacts of their food choices, and foster healthy habits. “You should definitely support this program because it’s one of the best that Northrop has ever had,” Mellike asked of our supporters. We are filling a gap in the curriculum. You can always donate to our program here. In the words of one of our 5th graders, Emmet, “Please support this program. I love it.”