By Uli Koester, Executive Director of Midwest Food Connection
A recent Washington Post headline* shouted: “Kids are terrified, anxious and depressed about climate change.” The article discusses deep concerns many youth have about the world’s future, and what they can do about it.
At the Midwest Food Connection (MFC), we have one simple but powerful answer: Food! Teach children and youth to take care in what they buy and consume, in how they cook and plan their meals.
In 2017, we launched our Climate Conscious Cuisine curriculum and find ourselves well prepared for the “anxious and depressed” students of 2020. Climate Conscious Cuisine is one of our four seasonal units, taught from November to January.
Every day, our educators fan out across Twin Cities schools, activating young minds and hands to learn more about food and to consider their choices. Of course, not everyone we teach has deep fears about climate change.
But we notice that many, even in the primary grades, are quite sensitized. No wonder, then, that children are eager to try our Seaweed Salad recipe and learn how seaweed beds not only change carbon dioxide to oxygen, but also clean pollution out of waters. Little wonder they want to discover how to waste less in our Conserve Food Creatively lesson.
Families can absolutely activate and support young people to take action on climate change right now. Here are our four top picks, which you and your young ones can put into action today!
- Leftover soup: Check your fridge for a mix of veggies, grains, and meats. Let your kids add dried herbs of their choosing!
- Fruit tea: Steep peels of bananas or mangoes in hot water for a treat.
- Seaweed salad: Check out our recipe! It’s fun to make and tasty!
- Have children choose three fruits or vegetables for consistent organic purchasing.
*National Weekly 2/16/20
About Midwest Food Connection
MFC inspires young people and their families to deepen their relationship with food, to benefit their own bodies, their communities and the earth. They teach many topics, from cultural traditions to local foods to urban gardening.
Learn more about MFC and how you can support their work at midwestfoodconnection.org.
- A handful of dried wakame (¼ to ½ oz.)
found in the ethnic foods section
- 2 stalks green onion
- 1 small cucumber (or ½ a large cucumber)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce such as tamari
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 small piece of ginger, grated, and squeezed to make 1 tsp. of juice
- Sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- Soak the wakame in water for at least 10 minutes.
- Cut the cucumber and green onion into bite-sized pieces. Scoop out any large cucumber seeds.
- Drain and chop the soaked seaweed.
- Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger juice and sesame oil.
- Drizzle the dressing onto the seaweed, cucumber and onion.
- Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.