Sowing The Seeds Of Knowledge
A global food revolution has taken the world by storm in the past decade. From farm to fork, people are reflecting on their food choices, thinking deeply about where their food comes from, and how it’s prepared.
ISKL has embraced this concept with our comprehensive Food Technology program which is part of the Middle School curriculum. The aim of the program is to not only develop our students’ understanding of food but also to appreciate its many roles and functions. They also have been learning about the sustainability of food production, methods of disposal, and how this applies both locally and globally.
ISKL’s food technology classes are held in our specially designed world-class kitchen facilities on campus, where Middle School students learn techniques such as food handling, kitchen skills, and hygiene as well as the importance of food sourcing, production, nutrition, and overall health. Students also learn about the cultural role that food plays in connecting individuals and communities.
This all takes place in a fun environment using the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program approach, an innovative school-based program that offers young students the opportunity to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, nutritious, seasonal and delicious food. The program places emphasis on the flavors and health benefits of fresh, seasonal food, its impact on health, and its influence on social and environmental behavior.
To fully understand how the food chain works and how food moves from soil to the dining table, our MS students have been planting and cultivating their own produce on our rooftop garden. Backed by the Inspiration Fund, the garden boasts over 20 varieties of fruits, herbs, and vegetables such as kale, eggplant, papaya, mint, basil. There are also plans to develop a seed bank, a worm farm, and even a worm cafe!
Meg Baxter, the MS Teacher responsible for running the food technology program and rooftop garden project says, “The rooftop garden is a space in Middle School that is constantly evolving, developing and “growing”. It is being primarily developed in conjunction with our kitchen program however it is also being used by our gardening club and other classes. It is a space where the students are taking their learning beyond identifying different foods and where they come from. They are experiencing first hand how to propagate, care and nurture the soil through creating rich compost through green garden waste and kitchen scraps, using natural fertilizer from Fish Enzymes”.
Meg also describes how students are developing empathy and bonding as a community, as they experience the wonder of seeing things grow from seed or cuttings. “For them, it is exciting when working in the kitchen to be able to harvest fresh produce for our dishes and think about the connection between what we are cooking and what produce is available in the garden. It is also refreshing to see that when we are working in the kitchen, students are beginning to ask “do we have that in the garden?” “Can I get that from the garden?” or “can we grow that in Malaysia?”. Students are brainstorming ways we can make our garden more sustainable and offer up our produce, seeds and seedlings to encourage others to work toward living a more sustainable healthy life”.
About Meg Baxter
Meg Baxter is a Middle School Art Teacher and Food Technology teacher with ISKL. She holds an MA (Special Needs), a BA (Special Education) and a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood - Art Major). Meg is passionate about the creative arts, specifically printmaking and Digital Art. She loves the energy and enthusiasm in MS and that she works with students on projects that allow them to discover and express themselves through art. She feels privileged to be part of a dynamic team working to bring the kitchen and garden to life and helping students develop their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation about the connections between cooking projects and the garden.