A group of chefs sitting around the dining room table at the CVI (The Culinary Vegetable Institute) after an event got to reminiscing about the great people who had mentored them. They were proud, telling about the greats they worked with while crafting their own culinary skills. Someone said they thought it was time to “give back”. A bit more conversation (and a few more beers) and it was decided that teaching kids about good nutrition and sustainable agriculture would go a long way in helping thwart the increase of juvenile diabetes and obesity. So that night Veggie U was born!
Eighteen months later, after countless volunteer hours on the part of 25 area master teachers, a dietitian and a local doctor we put the first Veggie U five week curriculum in 15 local classrooms as a pilot. The only “pay” they received was an occasional box of veggies!
The hands-on program teaches about soil composition, plant parts, planting and harvesting. It includes a worm farm and a big box of veggies from The Chef’s Garden for the kids to try. When they are finished the kids can read a food label, know how many teaspoons of sugar are in a soda and how much grease is in a fast food burger! They know veggies are good and good for you and they know how to plant a garden!
The pilot teachers were invited back to critique. I have always believed the best way to get something done is to talk to the people who do it, so working with the teachers was a natural! We made a few changes and continue to implement new ideas from Veggie U teachers each year.
We have placed the kit in over 1800 classrooms in 26 states. The project continues through the generous donations of people like you who give of their time, talents and of their money to help us teach kids about good food choices and sustainable agriculture. The first Veggie U graduates will finish high school this spring! Our goal is to offer this program to fourth grade and special needs students nationwide.
The bottom line is that it all costs money! We hope you will join us for our 9th annual Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration fundraiser on July 16 at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, 12304 S.R. 13, Milan, Ohio 44846. Or if you are interested in supporting this great project in any way, just drop me an email or a line! Without chefs Veggie U would not have been started and it can only continue with your help!
or call 419-499-7500 for information or tickets.