Sage Dining Provides a Hands-On Lesson
Sage Dining Service is committed to providing the freshest and healthiest food possible to their guests, namely 900+ students and 175+ faculty and staff at MVPS. In keeping with this commitment, Sage uses as many locally grown products as are available.
One way they can ensure that products used are as fresh as possible is to have access to gardens where produce can be picked just in time for cooking or for use in a salad. Along these lines, an idea occurred to Allen Clark, Sage’s Food Service Director for MVPS, that having fresh herbs available would not only improve meals, but might provide a learning opportunity for students. He decided that having fresh herbs on-hand, would allow the students to touch, smell and taste various herbs so they could recognize them in their food and learn to use them as flavor enhancers, replacing salt, sugar and fats in their diets.
The concept quickly turned into a Design Thinking journey as soon as Mary Cantwell, Center for Design Thinking Director, became involved. She quickly engaged two classes in different divisions and crossed the transdisciplinary divide by involving art students as well as a class who recently studied land mass and weather.
In order to house an herb garden within reach, Kat Mattimoe’s Middle School Art Club reclaimed a retired salad cart by painting it to fit within nature’s theme, while second graders in Ms. Stephenson’s class loaded the dirt and planted the various herbs, under Mr. Clark’s tutelage. He explained each herb as it was planted – describing its unique qualities, while emphasizing which herbs complimented certain foods.
Clark says, “We are excited to offer this opportunity to MVPS students and look forward to expanding to a lettuce garden and a composting program that will allow students to follow their vegetables from garden, to plate, to compost, and returning to the garden to begin the cycle anew.”