Anne McHale is an MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the FoodCorps team in Glendive.
|Where do fruits and vegetables grow?|
I answered a call the other day from a teacher at Glendive’s Headstart program. Rumors of my work in town had reached them at last! We chatted and exchanged niceties, and I spoke of nutrition and food origin activities I’ve done with other groups, including one where kindergarteners and first graders colored fruits and vegetables and placed them on a poster that corresponded with their growing location- underground for root vegetables, on a vine, on a bush, or in a tree. There were some that stumped me, actually- who knows where a star fruit grows? And do peanuts grow underground or on a bush? In a tree?
So we’re looking at doing something similar out at Headstart and as the conversation was winding down, Tulli, the teacher I was on the phone with, paused and then sheepishly got to the point: “And…” she said “and… did I hear you have… vegetable costumes?”
I about fell off my chair laughing. In this small town, a giant apple makes quite a splash and having these darn costumes on loan from MSU Bozeman has done more for promoting Farm to School than all my other efforts combined. When I borrowed the apple and the corn costumes, I didn’t anticipate actually wearing either myself. Boy, did I have something else coming. If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself and that’s doubly true when it comes to sporting oversized foam fruits and matching hats.
|Anne wearing the apple costume|
Here in Glendive, where the population density doesn’t even qualify us for “rural” designation (we’re “frontier”), a sense of humor goes a long ways in building relationships with people and organizations accustomed to being spoken down to by outsiders hawking quick fixes for development on the Great Plains. And actually, taking myself too seriously is one of my worst character flaws, so looking ridiculous is good for my program, and good for me too.