Catherine Losavio, Besse, Crystal
(11/16/20) FRANKLINTON, La. — Enon Elementary joined schools, preschools and individuals across Louisiana to celebrate National Farm to School Month by enjoying locally grown satsumas during the Great Louisiana Satsuma Peel.
Pre-K, first grade and third grade students at Enon Elementary celebrated fresh, local food by peeling Louisiana-grown satsumas together. They were led virtually by LSU AgCenter SNAP-Ed nutrition educator Christi Mitchell.
“After working through challenges with the pandemic and reorganizing several times due to hurricanes, we were finally able pull off this virtual satsuma peel,” Mitchell said.
“When asked to participate in the Great Louisiana Satsuma Peel, I couldn’t wait to join and share the opportunity with others at my school as well,” said Kristen Thomas, first grade teacher at Enon Elementary. “I can’t tell you how many times I was asked, ‘Mrs. Kristen, is today the day we get to try the satsumas?’ Some students knew exactly what they would be tasting — a few even have satsuma trees at home — while others were just excited to experience this new fruit.”
Louisiana satsumas were procured locally and provided to the school. Each student was given a satsuma and counted down together before peeling and eating their tasty treat in unison. This collective satsuma peel encourages healthy eating and supports farm-to-school and local food initiatives throughout Louisiana.
“In a state with one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country, it is essential for children to learn the value of eating healthy, local food,” said Crystal Besse, Louisiana Farm to School Program director. “Farm to school is an important tool not only for improving the health of our children but also for strengthening our state’s economy by supporting local food businesses.”
Leading up to the satsuma peel, students participated in activities and discussions about healthy and unhealthy eating habits. Thanks to the event, students were able to not only taste local satsumas but also learn about harvesting techniques and the nutritional value of the fruit.
“Being able to see the students’ enthusiasm and hear their comments as they peeled and tasted the satsumas with so much excitement put a huge smile on my face,” said Valerie Vincent, LSU AgCenter Family and Consumer Sciences regional coordinator.
The LSU AgCenter SNAP-Ed program works to improve dietary quality, food security and healthy food choices among SNAP-eligible audiences in Louisiana. Farm-to-school activities and SNAP-Ed programming provide children with a better understanding of agriculture, nutrition and the environment while also aiming to improve healthy eating behaviors.
The Louisiana Farm to School Program from the LSU AgCenter offers resources and support to schools and local food producers interested in connecting children with fresh, healthy, local food. More information is available online at visit www.lsuagcenter.com/LouisianaFarmtoSchool or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to get involved right now, you can sign the Louisiana Farm to School pledge at http://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lwMFu2A1xVsVpP.
Pre-K students at Enon Elementary in Franklinton, Louisiana, participate in the Great Louisiana Satsuma Peel. Photo provided by Krystal Jenkins/Enon Elementary