Making Children Enthusiastic about Healthy Food was my Favorite Part of the Internship.
Caya studies Food Innovation in the Netherlands and had to complete an internship as part of her study program. She joined Urban Harvest in Cape Town for 15 weeks and had a great time. In this blog, she tells you more about her experiences during this Food Security and Urban Farming internship and what it was like to live in Cape Town.
About Urban Harvest and my Project
Urban Harvest is the oldest edible service in South Africa. They provide installation, planting, and maintenance service in gardens around Cape Town. These gardens are located in homes, businesses, schools, and communities. They provide organic, fresh, nutrient-rich and chemical-free food. They also educate clients about organic farming (or permaculture). By helping people to grow their own food, they are supporting a healthy, happy and more sustainable life for South Africans.
One of the gardens is based at a school for deaf and hearing-impaired children. I worked with this school for my project during the internship. The school has a menu for the school meals set up by the government and they also receive the ingredients for these meals. The school garden has a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs which they can use as well, but the produce of the garden is not used to its full potential. However, the kitchen staff does not feel the need to use the vegetables from the garden because they already receive ingredients for every day’s school menu. That is why the focus of my project and internship was to find and create ways of making better use of the garden produce.
Fundraising for my favorite Cooking Class
The activities at Urban Harvest are flexible and they vary on the basis of your interests. Since I really like cooking and working with children, I spent most of my time helping in the cooking class of the school. I taught the children about healthy food and showed them different fruits, veggies, and herbs in the garden. Based on the products we had available, I created recipes to prepare with the children. Many children don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables and sometimes don’t even eat them at all. I wanted to show them healthy food can be really tasty as well. It was actually amazing to see the children who previously did not like vegetables, really liked making and eating spinach and parsnip cookies. You can imagine making the children enthusiastic about healthy food was one of my favorite parts of the internship.
The cooking class is really basic and the school does not have a lot of tools for cooking. I wanted to help improve the cooking lessons for the children so I decided to raise money for the school to buy more equipment and ingredients for the cooking class. Using the herbs and vegetables from the garden, I made products with a long shelf-life together with the children: jars with pickles, sauces, jams, and herb mixes. These jars I sold at a market and with the money I raised, I bought a mixer, knives and cleaning supplies!
A Great Experience
Doing my internship at Urban Harvest was a great experience for me. I learned a lot about working with children from the school by giving them cooking lessons and teaching them about healthy food. And, it was really interesting to work in a different culture and see how things are done differently.
Living in Cape Town is a great experience as well. It is a beautiful and diverse city. I am really glad I got the chance to call this amazing city my home for four months. I met a lot of nice people, enjoyed the sun and experienced Cape Town by hiking Table Mountain, visiting cute food markets, festivals, etc. You can not be bored in this city.
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