This November, UMass Dining staff and about two dozen UMass students visited Lambert-Lavoie Memorial Elementary School in Chicopee for the Fun with Food Fest. A collaboration between UMass Dining and ChicopeeFRESH, the event sought to teach 4th and 5th graders about local, healthy food in all sorts of fun ways.
The event started off with the school’s cafeteria manager demonstrating how to make smoothies in front of the intrigued students. Most of them have tried the smoothies during lunch, including the popular strawberry yogurt smoothie, but none of them had actually seen the smoothies being made behind the scenes.
One of the activities that the kids loved was called The Real Mr. Potato Head. The kids pinned vegetables like kale, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts to a potato and make a face. Not only was this activity really fun for the kids, it may have exposed them to vegetables that they didn’t know about before. You wouldn’t believe how many different facial features a grape can be!
Another activity the kids enjoyed was "veggie stamping", where kids made cards for family members using handmade stamps carved out of vegetables.
At each activity station, there was a UMass volunteer dressed as a vegetable. Among our brave veggies were a carrot, tomato, and corn on the cob. According to the carrot, living underground isn’t too bad but it’s better when people uproot it to eat because it is fulfilling its life purpose.
This event was a great opportunity to bring the UMass Dining and Chicopee Public School programs together to celebrate local food in an exciting, collaborative way. Both programs are grantees of the Kendall Foundation, whose goal is to establish a healthy and resilient New England food system.
Hopefully, the kids who participated in the Fun with Food Fest know a little more about where their food comes from and that eating healthy and locally is fun!