Narrator: Twenty-three Oakland, California, preschools are participating with the University of California in a statewide nutrition program. The goal - to instill the love of fresh vegetables in the area's young children. It's called ‘Harvest of the Month' ...
Lucrecia Farfan-Ramirez - Director, Alameda County UCCE: Each month, we select one product and it can be either a fruit or a vegetable that is being produced in California and we bring it to the schools and we provide the children the ‘Harvest of the Month.'
Narrator: This month, the featured vegetable is spinach.
Lucrecia Farfan-Ramirez: Children then learn where the vegetable or fruit comes from and they prepare a menu and then they do an activity around that. We know that research shows that when children learn their patterns very early in life, they stay until they get old, provided that we have the right environment. And that's why we always work also with the outside environment - with the neighborhoods and partner with other people.
Narrator: In this case, UC's Cooperative Extension Nutrition Education Training Academy partnered with the Oakland Unified School District.
Lynne Rodezno - Director, Early Childhood Education, Oakland Unified School District: They have this opportunity in the classroom, where the children are able to maybe taste foods that they may not normally have in their daily diet, to have the enjoyment of preparing it. There's also a huge component for language development, too, because there's conversation regarding whatever the item is, the recipe, where it came from, what you do with it. One of the components that's wonderful about this program is the parent component because there are parents who have been trained to train other parents, so that hopefully these practices will go beyond the classroom and not just be at home, so the opportunity for young children to have these early childhood experiences will hopefully be formative in their thought processes for life.
Narrator: For more information, visit the Harvest of the Month website: www.harvestofthemonth.com