Spring is in the air and so is sex ed. Like butterflies drying their wings fresh out of the cocoon, 5/6 graders are becoming aware that they are ready for a new flight. The segregated reproduction discussions go down in project time; just before stunned students remix on their way to garden class. No better time to talk about spinach and the vital nutrition changing bodies get from one simple serving a day.
Sitting in the shade of the school's towering mango tree, we looked at buds flowering towards ripeness. We talked about the roots of the mighty mango reaching deep into the soil and the tree's own energy bank to retrieve the nutrients to reproduce and survive; to grow blossoms that produce pollen and attract pollenators to create fruits so that seeds spread. Like the mango tree, eleven/twelve year old bodies are reaching into store banks of nutrients so they can flower and move into reproduction. As bodies grow, nutrients are needed to develope cycles and seeds and to compensate for physical changes. Buffing up with spinach every day gives muscle, blood, and organs a constant storage of nutrients ensuring straight backs and good vision in old age and shiny hair, strong skin, and sharp thinking in the meantime.
Students especially tuned into the "changing body" parts and I can hope that some of the information about the awesome spinach nutrients sunk in too.
We went to the garden and picked at least a handful of spinach leaves and a few sprigs of whatever herb they wanted. We ended up with basil, rosemary sprigs, mint, fennel, chives, lemongrass, and copious handfuls of hearty green spinach. Students got to cut up the herbs and spinach. I love that children take using kitchen knives so seriously. We melted butter, olive oil, and a few slices of garlic. After blending in spinach and salt and pepper, we added cook rice shoyu, fried for a few more seconds.
Within 10 minutes, children were sitting around our classroom table, gobbling down spinach stir-fry like little wolves. We talked about eating the "alive vibe" and maximum nutrient levels in fresh cooked spinach from your backyard vs spinach from California picked weeks ago and discussed why brown rice provides more nutrients than white. Students guessed how much money it took to prepare our garden stir-fry and couldn't believe a bunch of organic kale or spinach at the store costs $5.99 a bunch.
Eating spinach is right up there with the birds and the bees and spring and fifth and sixth graders. They all go together, right along with the mighty mango.
Krista Joan says:
My mission is to teach, train, and testify in resistance to the white supremacy of my ancestors. My personal choices are political, powerful, and practical. Let's trash waste.