Hi! My name is Bonnie Lohman and I am delighted to be at Midwest Food Connection as a Program Educator. Since 2012, I have dedicated my professional life to garden-based learning, nutrition education, and using the power of food to connect young people to their school, their bodies and their communities. After earning my master’s in education and becoming a licensed teacher, I taught for a year at a small charter school in Minneapolis. While there, I helped to start the school garden program and realized that some of my most treasured days as a teacher came while I was elbow deep in garden soil with a group of students. Bringing students to the garden allowed me to see their adventurous, curious, wonder-struck side that was sometimes missing while we were indoors.
At the end of that school year, I changed course from teaching in a classroom to managing a district-wide school garden program in a school district just outside of Minneapolis. I had the dreamy role of teaching kids how to plant garlic cloves, trellis cucumbers, mulch potatoes and save tomato seeds. Students harvested our bounty and we cleaned, prepared and ate fresh foods right from the garden. I also connected the garden and food to the academic subjects that students were learning about in their classrooms. I saw the unique power that food and gardens have to engage even the most reluctant learners, and offer a hands-on way to understand complex academic ideas.
Eventually, I moved on to coordinating a new farm to school program that focused on getting local foods into school meals, reviving the school garden program, and teaching kids about nutrition and food. Again, I was reminded of the power of food to connect and inspire kids. Through these experiences, I have come to firmly believe that learning about food, nutrition and gardening should be a part of every child’s educational experience. Now, I’m excited to bring food education to hundreds more students as part of the Midwest Food Connection staff.
When I’m not teaching kids about food, I enjoy exploring the outdoor spaces in Minneapolis with my partner and our son. I can also often be found weeding our large overgrown garden, cooking in our small kitchen, or dreaming about converting the rest of our yard into an urban farm.