Sweet Potatoes

Home grown Sweet Potatoes, planted, harvested, and eaten by the Students.

A read-aloud of a biography about George Washington Carver introduces this workshop.  Students are asked to consider his life and achievements in science, farming, art and culture.  Students prepare and cook their own homegrown sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes can be prepared in many different ways, baked, mashed, pancakes, pie. To fit into our classroom time periods, we make, sweet potato fries. These fries are prepared in hot peanut oil, in the classroom, and are served with healthier ketchup (that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.) After eating their fries, students are asked to compare the differences between their own “home made,” “home grown” fries, and those standard french fries, they may have consumed at one of the many McDonald’s restaurants in our community.  Students are asked to use their senses to compare differences in how the fries: look, feel, taste, sound, and smell.  Mentors record all comparisons on the class room chalk board.  Mentors then expand on this comparison to include the differences in how we grew our sweet potatoes, in our Organic Teaching Gardens, and how the farmers grow the one variety of potato McDonald’s buys, to ensure uniformity in their fries.  The books: Botany of Desire and Fast Food Nation are referenced for the this workshop.  Different farming practices are discussed. Variety is the spice of life. Why are farmers forced to use so many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides when growing their potatoes for McDonald’s?  What were the original teachings of George Washington Carver?

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