AUTOPLAY 

On a Thursday morning, approximately 20 students sit in a semicircle on a bright, vegetable-patterned rug in a classroom on the fourth floor of Watkins Elementary School in Southeast. Their eyes are on Jennifer Mampara as she introduces a lesson on Native Americans. Only, there are some slight differences in Mamparas lesson from conventional school lessons on the same subject. (WTOPRachel Nania)

On a Thursday morning, approximately 20 students sit in a semicircle on a bright, vegetable-patterned rug in a classroom on the fourth floor of Watkins Elementary School in Southeast. Their eyes are on Jennifer Mampara as she introduces a lesson on Native Americans. Only, there are some slight differences in Mampara's lesson from conventional school lessons on the same subject. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
While Mamparas room includes tables, chairs and a chalkboard, it also houses a state-of-the-art demo kitchen, known as the FoodLab. And while her discussion includes the historical significance of the Native Americans, she focuses primarily on the food they grew and ate. (WTOPRachel Nania)

While Mampara's room includes tables, chairs and a chalkboard, it also houses a state-of-the-art demo kitchen, known as the "FoodLab." And while her discussion includes the historical significance of the Native Americans, she focuses primarily on the food they grew and ate. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Theyre going to study the three sisters corns, beans and squash, and cook recipes from the food that Native Americans would have eaten, says Bernadine Prince, co-executive of FRESHFARM Markets. She is assisting Mampara on Thursday with her lesson.(WTOPRachel Nania)

"They're going to study the three sisters: corns, beans and squash, and cook recipes from the food that Native Americans would have eaten," says Bernadine Prince, co-executive of FRESHFARM Markets. She is assisting Mampara on Thursday with her lesson.(WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Math, reading, science and history are no longer the basic subjects at a handful of public elementary schools in D.C. Thats because teachers, administrators and one local organization are cooking up a new curriculum for students -- literally. (WTOPRachel Nania)

Math, reading, science and history are no longer the basic subjects at a handful of public elementary schools in D.C. That's because teachers, administrators and one local organization are cooking up a new curriculum for students -- literally. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
FoodPrints is a program developed by FRESHFARM Markets that builds an edible garden on school grounds, teaches kids where food comes from and teaches the importance of cooking and eating a balanced diet. The program began at Watkins in 2009. (WTOPRachel Nania)

FoodPrints is a program developed by FRESHFARM Markets that builds an edible garden on school grounds, teaches kids where food comes from and teaches the importance of cooking and eating a balanced diet. The program began at Watkins in 2009. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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Theyre really getting life skills in this class, because theyre learning how important it is to eat healthy food, how to grow it themselves and take care of it in a garden and then how to prepare it in the classroom so they can go home and do these recipes, Prince says. This is the most popular program in the school. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"They're really getting life skills in this class, because they're learning how important it is to eat healthy food, how to grow it themselves and take care of it in a garden and then how to prepare it in the classroom so they can go home and do these recipes," Prince says. "This is the most popular program in the school." (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
After about a 20-minute discussion in the classroom, Mampara lines up her students and leads them outside to the schools garden -- an expansive and fenced-off space that houses broccoli, basil, cucumbers, peppers, an assortment of herbs and seating for the students. Thats where the days second lesson begins. The students break into groups, with specific tasks to gather herbs for the days recipe of hoecakes, roasted squash and beans. (WTOPRachel Nania)

After about a 20-minute discussion in the classroom, Mampara lines up her students and leads them outside to the school's garden -- an expansive and fenced-off space that houses broccoli, basil, cucumbers, peppers, an assortment of herbs and seating for the students. That's where the day's second lesson begins.

The students break into groups, with specific tasks to gather herbs for the day's recipe of hoecakes, roasted squash and beans. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Look Ms. Kellogg, look at the cucumbers, one student yells, while in the garden. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"Look Ms. Kellogg, look at the cucumbers," one student yells, while in the garden. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Oh, very nice, replies Kristina Kellogg, the groups teacher. Shes been teaching at Watkins for seven years and has a daughter who is now in the fourth grade. That means Kellogg has experienced FoodPrints from a parents point-of-view and a teachers. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"Oh, very nice," replies Kristina Kellogg, the group's teacher. She's been teaching at Watkins for seven years and has a daughter who is now in the fourth grade. That means Kellogg has experienced FoodPrints from a parents point-of-view and a teacher's. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Theyre learning which foods are good for their bodies and then taking it home, Kellogg says. Ms. Mampara does a really great job of giving the students the recipes after they create (the meals in class) and so they go back home and tell their parents, Oh we shouldnt be eating this food because it does this and that to your body. They become self-advocates advocates of healthy eating. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"They're learning which foods are good for their bodies and then taking it home," Kellogg says.

"Ms. Mampara does a really great job of giving the students the recipes after they create (the meals in class) and so they go back home and tell their parents, ‘Oh we shouldn't be eating this food because it does this and that to your body.' They become self-advocates; advocates of healthy eating." (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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A few students call over more adults, like Watkins volunteer and master gardener Barbara Percival, to rejoice in their produce bounty. Then, its up to the kitchen where the students are ready to taste the fruits of their labor. (WTOPRachel Nania)

A few students call over more adults, like Watkins volunteer and master gardener Barbara Percival, to rejoice in their produce bounty. Then, it's up to the kitchen where the students are ready to taste the fruits of their labor. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
As the kids walk back into the classroom, they pass a double oven, a large island and stainless steel appliances. And the tiles on the sink are decorated with art the kids made in years past. The students take pride in their kitchen. (WTOPRachel Nania)

As the kids walk back into the classroom, they pass a double oven, a large island and stainless steel appliances. And the tiles on the sink are decorated with art the kids made in years past. The students take pride in their kitchen.
(WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Eventually, this kind of kitchen could be in every school in the District, Price says. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"Eventually, this kind of kitchen could be in every school in the District," Price says. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The students take a seat on the carpet, again, and learn more about the food they are about to prepare. (WTOPRachel Nania)

The students take a seat on the carpet, again, and learn more about the food they are about to prepare. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Mampara starts to talk to her engaged and eager audience about the ingredients the settlers had available. In 1610, there was no wheat and there were no cattle here. Wheat and cattle came with the colonists, she says, trying to explain the difference between the cornbread they are accustomed to and the more bland taste of hoecakes they are about to make. (WTOPRachel Nania)

Mampara starts to talk to her engaged and eager audience about the ingredients the settlers had available.

"In 1610, there was no wheat and there were no cattle here. Wheat and cattle came with the colonists," she says, trying to explain the difference between the cornbread they are accustomed to and the more bland taste of hoecakes they are about to make.
(WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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The class breaks up into groups of six-to-eight, and the students tackle their next big assignment prepping their meal. One table measures and mixes, while the others chop herbs and squash. (WTOPRachel Nania)

The class breaks up into groups of six-to-eight, and the students tackle their next big assignment: prepping their meal. One table measures and mixes, while the others chop herbs and squash. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
We need one-half of a teaspoon and were doubling the recipe, so how much do we need former Watkins parent and school volunteer Percival asks one group of students as they measure out ingredients for cornbread. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"We need one-half of a teaspoon and we're doubling the recipe, so how much do we need?" former Watkins parent and school volunteer Percival asks one group of students as they measure out ingredients for cornbread. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Another parent volunteer supervises the chopping of chives, and a FRESHFARM Markets intern helps a group of 9-year-old boys chop butternut squash. (WTOPRachel Nania)

Another parent volunteer supervises the chopping of chives, and a FRESHFARM Markets intern helps a group of 9-year-old boys chop butternut squash. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The kids really enjoy being in the garden, and they really love coming up here to cook, says Mampara, who has been teaching the FoodPrints program at Watkins for five years. She currently has 25 classes of FoodPrints, and previously she worked as a third-grade teacher at the school. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"The kids really enjoy being in the garden, and they really love coming up here to cook," says Mampara, who has been teaching the FoodPrints program at Watkins for five years. She currently has 25 classes of FoodPrints, and previously she worked as a third-grade teacher at the school. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
At the end of the year, if you ask them what their favorite vegetable is, they will say kale -- because they especially love making kale salad with us, Mampara says. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"At the end of the year, if you ask them what their favorite vegetable is, they will say kale -- because they especially love making kale salad with us," Mampara says. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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As the products go into the oven and the kitchen cleanup comes to an end, the students begin a journal exercise that takes their minds off of the smells wafting from the kitchen. (WTOPRachel Nania)

As the products go into the oven and the kitchen cleanup comes to an end, the students begin a journal exercise that takes their minds off of the smells wafting from the kitchen. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
(WTOPRachel Nania)
(WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Their assignment is to illustrate a polyculture agricultural set-up, similar to that of the Native Americans. (WTOPRachel Nania)

Their assignment is to illustrate a polyculture agricultural set-up, similar to that of the Native Americans. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
We work with all of the teachers in each of the classes to make sure that they understand that the lessons in FoodPrints will compliment the curriculum work theyre doing and meet their testing standards, says Price of FRESHFARM Markets. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"We work with all of the teachers in each of the classes to make sure that they understand that the lessons in FoodPrints will compliment the curriculum work they're doing and meet their testing standards," says Price of FRESHFARM Markets. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
When the timer goes off, the last journal entries are completed and closed. Its time to taste. (WTOPRachel Nania)

When the timer goes off, the last journal entries are completed and closed. It's time to taste. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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The students are reminded that they are to keep open minds and not to discuss their taste preferences out loud, should others around them enjoy the food. (WTOPRachel Nania)

The students are reminded that they are to keep open minds and not to discuss their taste preferences out loud, should others around them enjoy the food. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
This one is way more fluffy, one student yells. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"This one is way more fluffy," one student yells. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Mmmmmm. Tastes like grits, exclaimed one student after taking a bite of the hoecake. Others echoed the Mmmms. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"Mmmmmm. Tastes like grits," exclaimed one student after taking a bite of the hoecake. Other's echoed the "Mmmms." (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Now were going to taste the fluffy cornbread, which is how we make it today, Mampara says to the students. (WTOPRachel Nania)

"Now we're going to taste the fluffy cornbread, which is how we make it today," Mampara says to the students. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The squash and the beans are sampled with enthusiasm from some, and uncertainty from others. (WTOPRachel Nania)

The squash and the beans are sampled with enthusiasm from some, and uncertainty from others. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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Then, the class must come to a close. The students are encouraged to take their recipes of the day home and share what they learned with their parents. (WTOPRachel Nania)

Then, the class must come to a close. The students are encouraged to take their recipes of the day home and share what they learned with their parents. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The students make a toast to the end of another fun and successful food lesson. Were adding to the school, not adding to the teachers burden, Price says. Getting your kid involved in understanding what foods all about and how to make it ... Its something that lasts. They have that cooking skill, they have that taste memory, its so important. (WTOPRachel Nania)

The students make a toast to the end of another fun and successful food lesson.

"We're adding to the school, not adding to the teachers' burden," Price says. "Getting your kid involved in understanding what food's all about and how to make it … It's something that lasts. They have that cooking skill, they have that taste memory, it's so important." (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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