Vegan School’s Lunch Program Is Transforming Kids’ Relationship With Food And Gardening

When Muse School in California decided to go all-vegan last year, it was difficult for some of the parents to get on board with the new direction.

“There’s a lot of myths around brain development and animal protein. There’s a lot of misinformation about meat and dairy products,” said Jeff King, head of Muse School.

But before starting the 2015 school year, staff held lectures and seminars to educate parents. Ultimately, the school decided that going 100% plant-based (omitting all animal foods, including dairy and cheese, from its premise) was the right choice.

And so far, it seems the decision is benefiting everyone involved – especially the students.

CBS News reports that the green curriculum and cruelty-free diet is inspiring students to get excited about the benefits of healthy eating while they cultivate fruits and vegetables in the school’s garden.

In the segment shown above, a number of the students happily share the progress of the plants they’re growing.

“This is the strawberry plant I planted,” fifth-grader Emma Leyson told CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons. “Everything we grow, we pretty much eat for lunch.”

Muse School, founded by James Cameron’s wife, Suzy Cameron, and her sister. is the first school in the country to adopt an all-vegan menu. Those who believe kids are naturally picky eaters and will eschew healthy eating were skeptical it would succeed in its mission, but clearly, the facilitators, staff, and chef are doing something right.

Paul Hudak, who runs the program at Muse, works closely with the school’s master chef to prepare a variety of vegan choices the kids will happily consume.

He said:

“We have kindergartners eating kale! And I didn’t know what kale was until I was 19. And that really expands their palettes, in part because they own it. Once they plant that seed and they grow it through, they are deeply invested in that.”

The ‘trick’, of course, in getting kids to enjoy the nutritious food they’re eating is to get them involved in the process.

Credit: Muse School
Credit: Muse School

Leyson couldn’t be more excited when she shared with Simmons the fact that food she grew was used in the cuisine they were all eating.

“They other day, we made tomato soup, and I grew rosemary and it was in the soup and I was excited,” she said.

Imagine if all schools had a gardening program. Not only would kids learn where their food comes from, they would likely become inspired to eat healthier because they participated in the cultivation of nutritious crops.

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