'Lettuce' Introduce You to Veggie U!

Around the country, elementary school teachers and students are ready to have some fun with the start of the Veggie U program. Tasting new and different vegetables, getting their hands dirty on planting days, glimpsing the secret underground life of worms, and having fun while learning about plant science are all part of the five week Veggie U program. As "graduates" of Veggie U, students will know the importance of good nutrition, the concept of sustainable agriculture, and how vegetables are grown.

Veggie U's curriculum was inspired back in 2003 by chefs and farmers, and developed through the volunteer efforts of a nutritionist, doctor and local educators. The team recognized that children would greatly benefit from understanding the connection between what they consume and how that food is grown. Veggie U's curriculum has been vetted by a third-party content correlation service to provide educators with a chart of each state and national education standard met for each lesson.

In addition to a hands-on, scientific approach to learning about plants and their components, Veggie U incorporates extensive journal activities, mathematics, and language arts, providing an immersive study of core concepts. The classroom lessons include studies of soil, composting, planting, nutrition and plant anatomy. The students also care for a worm farm, raise a mini "crop", and celebrate the end of the program with a vegetable Feast Day. Chefs are often invited to celebrate feast day with the students, and can offer recipe demos and instructions on how to prepare and enjoy vegetables all year long.

Over 6,500 Veggie U classroom garden programs have sprouted in 36 states and Washington DC.