Deciding to go for the big impact I decided to splurge and purchase ingredients to make a fresh fruit salad. Class began with the fruits in a large bowl in the center of the students. As a student removed a fruit from the bowl he/she examined the sticker or package to determine the origin. We listed sources… bananas from Peru, grapes from Chile, apples from Vermont, strawberries from California, pineapple from Hawaii, cantaloupe from Guatemala and honeydew melon from an undetermined source.
After students worked cooperatively to wash and cut the fruit for the fruit salad they sat and we read the article. “SUV in the Pantry” by Thomas Stars shared info connecting directly to what they were eating. The article stated pineapple flown to the mainland from Hawaii is a most carbon intensive food requiring about 40 pounds of carbon dioxide per pound of pineapple. Grapes from Chile travel about 5500 miles to reach New England. I could see the impact of the article on the student’s faces.
Wanting to empower my students to think about ways to have a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables we next brainstormed options of how to eat pineapple or strawberries and lessen the carbon impact. Acknowledging that canned pineapple does not match the flavor of fresh it was suggested as an alternative as it does not have to travel via plane. Using fruits frozen in season is also an alternative to fresh.
Do I still want my students to savor the flavor of a fresh fruit salad? Of course I do but I hope when they do so they also think about how our food choices have an impact.