Cooking is one of those things that truly touches on fostering Eco-literacy for the sheer fact that it's getting you up and exploring just how to become a little closer to the earth, no matter where you are in the world. By transforming your classroom (or schoolyard) into a kitchen and Farmer's Market allows students and adults alike to dig deep into the art of cooking.

One of my favourite activities to do with a class is to first develop a garden at the school, and then to use that garden to create simple dishes that are in season. Of course, if there isn't space to create a school community garden, it's all about improvising - take a field trip to your local Farmer's Market, or to make it even easier, bring in a bundle of in-season fruits and vegetables. Decide on what you'll be making with the class beforehand so you have all the 'extra' ingredients, bowls, utensils (etc) that you will need.

From making raw strawberry jam to pita pizzas, students will embrace the bountiful harvests in your area.

Here's the exercise for raw strawberry jam:

Chia Seeds
Mason Jars (small and extra small)

1. Prior to getting your hands dirty in the classroom mock kitchen, have a roundtable discussion with the class about farming. Talk about farms around the world, what crops are grown where, the difference between organic gardens, free-trade, and just plain old gardening. Ask students if they have their own gardens (or if they know of anyone with a garden) discuss what plants they have and what plants need to grow.

2. Before the class creates the raw strawberry jam, get everyone to look at this article on healthy eating habits, and discuss how cooking healthy allows us to grow as a school, and how eating healthy gives us more energy, etc. Get students to see that through cooking locally, we are creating a more sustainable world.

3. It's now time for students to write out the recipe on recipe cards. Allow them to get creative by designing their own recipe cards and neatly writing out the recipe to later attach it to the jar of strawberry jam.

4. Make raw strawberry jam!

5. Once the jam is made, put it in the refrigerator to set. To finish off the exercise, get students to get their hands dirty in the name of planting. Students will take a mason jar (or any small glass jar) and plant a bean in the dirt. Students will add water, and watch the plant grow throughout the proceeding weeks to remind them that by planting any fruit or vegetable enables someone to enjoy a meal out of the simplest ingredients from the earth.

Cooking as Teaching Resources: