Curriculum: "The Whole Plate -- A Return to Real Food"
"My goal is that students understand where and how their food is produced and learn to prepare it in a delicious and healthy way," says Jane Siemon, the teacher who developed The Whole Plate: A Return to Real Foods curriculum over 14 years. It's a 4-Unit course in nutrition, cooking and food systems that uses lectures, exercises, readings, and recipes, and integrates hands-on lessons like preparing and preserving food with critical analysis of nutrition issues and food systems.
Each unit contains 15 lessons for all grade levels and is based on the holistic food courses Ms. Siemon, a trained dietitian, has been teaching at Youth Initiative High School in Wisconsin since the mid-1990s. "There's a lot of joy in learning to cook," says Siemon.
The curriculum includes lectures on adolescent nutrition and agricultural practices, readings from Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." It also offers a PowerPoint presentation on reading labels, and hands-on activities like canning tomatoes and making pasta. By the end of each unit, students know how to make a complete meal for their families -- in fact it's a course assignment!
"I really want students to appreciate their food and to think about it when they eat and think about the energy that went into producing that food," said Siemon. Kids who know where their food comes from, which foods are healthy, and how to prepare them are more likely to make healthy decisions for themselves and the planet.
Individual units sell for $125 and come in a 3-ring binder that contains the unit of your choice and a CD with easily printable files for student copies.
The whole 4-unit curriculum sells for $400. It's four unites in 3-ring binders, a folder containing Mini-Units, and a CD for easily making student copies.