One vegetarian meal a day can make all the difference, according to Danny Steiner, a science teacher at the Bronx Theater High School on the John F. Kennedy Educational Campus.
That was one of the tips he imparted to students last week at the school’s second annual Garden to Café event, which served up produce grown right in the campus’ own “Enchanted Garden.”
On July 30, two chefs prepared a variety of salads containing green beans, cucumber, squash, tomatoes, carrots and basil from the garden, which a teacher started 20 years ago on an abandoned patch of land. Today, Mr. Steiner is responsible for the garden and the rest of the campus’ sustainability programs.
Students planted 500 fruit and vegetable plants in the garden earlier this year. They are encouraged to help Mr. Steiner maintain the garden during the summer and can also earn extra credit for cleaning it.
At last week’s meal, many of the students were on campus for summer school or a police camp.
“The food is really good, my favorites are the black bean salad and the broccoli one is good too,” said a rising junior.
Asked whether she would eat the same kind of food at home, she said, “I don’t know. I don’t really think so but I do like the black bean one a lot so I’m going to try.”
While fresh produce inspires some students, the teacher noted it’s a challenge to get older students to eat right.
“[In] high school, it’s a little late even though there are kids that are involved with these projects,” he said. “You have to hit the kids when they’re small, just like with the anti-smoking, anti-drug campaigns that have worked so hard.”
Chef Peter Forte, who has prepared food at Garden to Café events around the city, pointed out an additional issue. He said eating habits vary widely between neighborhoods.