The Denver Green School Monday/Wednesday Community Adventure Program (CAP) class recently ended their semester by designing and completing an Action Project. They spent the whole semester learning about environmental issues and how they impact our communities. The students decided that they wanted to focus on one that was near and dear to their hearts: healthy school lunches. They found that many of their fellow students ate lunches served by the school but did not really enjoy it, citing minimal and mostly unhealthy meal options. They saw that this led to a lot of food waste, as many students threw away their food rather than eat it. CAP students decided to tackle this issue by holding a cooking class to teach students how to make healthy, easy lunches at home that they could bring to school, reducing waste and educating students about cooking and food preparation.
The Media/Public Relations team promoted the event and informed the public and community about the project. They contacted local news organizations to tell them about the project and invite them to the event. They designed a flyer and posted it around school to promote the event to other students. This team prepared and gave a presentation about the event to a group of 6th grade students to inform them about the issue and demonstrate what the CAP class is all about. Finally, they posted about the event on social media, educating a wider audience.
The Action/Logistics team was in charge of all of the planning and implementation of the project. They decided on a day, time, and place for the class. They coordinated with teachers and administration to get permission to hold the class and for other students to attend. They planned a menu, decided how many students they wanted to attend the class, determined how much of each ingredient they would need, and coordinated who would go and buy the ingredients. They obtained cooking supplies and utensils. Finally, they discussed which students would be in charge of preparing each menu item and where they would fit in in the process of cooking.
The Documentary team documented every step of the project, from inception to completion. They interviewed students, teachers, administration, and other faculty to gain insight into the issue of food waste, school lunches, and the process of designing the action project. They also took lots of pictures and video throughout the whole process to show the progress of the project and the students’ hard work.
The cooking class took place on a Monday morning, with eleven 7th graders in attendance. The menu included salad with roasted chicken, cucumbers, tomato, carrots, and dressing; and sandwiches with turkey, lettuce, cheese, tomato, and pickles. CAP students demonstrated how to chop, combine, and serve each menu item. They cut up veggies, chopped salad, seasoned and cooked chicken, and made sandwiches. Then they served samples to our guests, who found them very tasty – many requested seconds! Luckily, there was more than enough for everyone, including, of course, the students who had worked so hard to plan and implement this project!
Afterwards, they cleaned up, threw away our trash, wiped down tables, and washed every pot and pan. We talked about the project and agreed that it had been a bit challenging, but very successful. The guests enjoyed the food and had fun learning about how to prepare their own lunches. The students hope that some will be inspired to try cooking on their own and start bringing their lunches from home!
Written by: CAP Instructor, Colleen Daszkiewicz