Representative Fernandes gets a taste of farm-to-school education

Charter School students display kale that they grew in their school garden, with Sam Greene and State Representative Dylan Fernandes. Pictured clockwise from left: Ada Chronister, Sam Greene, Jaiden Chibber, Representative Dylan Fernandes, Nathan Cuthbert, and Aidan Ziegenhorn. —Courtesy of Island Grown Initiative

State Representative Dylan Fernandes ate overwintered kale from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School’s garden, and it quickly became a new favorite. “This is truly the best kale I’ve ever had,” Representative Fernandes said during a tour of the school garden last Thursday.

According to a press release from Island Grown Initiative (IGI), Mr. Fernandes visited the Charter School not only to eat, but to speak with high school students to learn about farm-to-school programs, which promote garden-based education and the importance of providing healthy food in school meals.

The tour was led by students, along with Sam Greene, a Charter School teacher and garden coordinator; Noli Taylor, IGI community food education director; and Mary Sage Napolitan, Island Grown Schools coordinator.

“We are thrilled that the representative took the time to come see farm-to-school programming in action,” Ms. Taylor said. “There’s nothing like experiencing children’s wonder in the school garden firsthand, and eating a delicious healthy school lunch, to help anyone appreciate the value of farm-to-school programs.”

For lunch, Mr. Fernandes ate jerk chicken, green beans, beets, and a vegetable and hummus wrap prepared by school chef Matt Hayden.

“We did not have lunches like this in my school,” Mr. Fernandes said.

He spoke with two high school classes about the value of young people engaging in democracy, and taking a leadership role both in government and in addressing climate change issues.

“Climate change is likely to affect our generation, and our children’s generation, over every other issue,” the state representative said. “It’s important for young people to step up and be climate leaders.”