Dubuque program helps kids learn about local, healthy food

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — As the school day ended Thursday at Lincoln Elementary School, the first-graders in Kristin Buelow’s classroom had boxes full of unknown goodies to open.

“Ooh, yes! Berries!” Jahari White squealed.

Alongside the berries were bell peppers and meat sticks — enjoyed especially by Jahari’s tablemate Holden Ashbrook — other vegetables, pretzels, honey sticks and jam.

Across the table, classmate Rhiannon Hanson skewered her berries on a stick.

“I made a kebab,” she said.

The “jar-cuterie” lesson, a twist on charcuterie boards, and the foods sourced primarily from local farmers and producers were courtesy of Project Rooted, a nonprofit aimed at connecting kids to healthy, local foods.

After reading the class a book about a neighborhood coming together for a meal, Buelow instructed the students to look through their boxes and to sprinkle the contents into cups as they pleased.

“They’re really using their creativity,” Project Rooted founder Whitney Sanger told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. “We’re trying to make it fun for them. We’re celebrating gathering and foods that you gather around the table with.”

“I’m going to share with everybody,” Jahari promised as he packed up the snacks he didn’t eat immediately.

Holden made a similar vow, explaining that he was going to share with his parents and brother at home.

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