Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Week 7: Three Sisters, Popcorn, and Sushi!

First, the students learned about intercrops. What are they, you ask? And intercrop plant is when more than one type of plant grow to together. One of the most popular type of intercrop is called the Three Sisters. Three Sisters consist of corn, beans, and squash (illustrated by the students below). They grow together because they live in a symbiotic relationship where they all benefit from one another. For example, corn uses up nitrogen in the soil and beans put it back. In return, corn provides a sturdy stalk for the beans to climb on. And squash aids in suppressing weeds for all of the plants.

Speaking of corn, let's make POPCORN! Abby explained how there are different types of corn, one of which is popcorn. Just pop off the kernels from the cob, add a little bit of oil to a pot til it's piping hot, thrown in the kernels, shake up the pot once in a while to prevent burning, and viola! You have popcorn! Last step, EAT!

How do corn plants grow? In a line or in bunches? The answer is bunches (illustrated below). Why? Because corn pollinate by using the wind to blow their seeds; they pollinate easier in every direction if they grow in bunches.
"If we were corn, how would we grow?" --Abby

Food Systems Workshop
Abby illustrated on the white board the process of going through a direct market and a non-direct market. What are the benefits and consequences of both? How much energy does it take to produce and market a product? If the production process takes longer and exchanges more hands, do you get paid more or less? Which would you prefer?

The student on the far right is illustrating how much energy it takes to produce and market a strawberry by doing jumping jacks.

Remember, YOU have the power to vote with your dollar. You can choose to support your local producers and farmers so that they get a better price while also helping the environment.

SUSHI TIME! Abby gave the group a lesson hand rolling vegetable sushi. Yum.

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