The Y believes children are the decision-makers of the future. For that reason, the Y added programs in its after-school to help its children learn about the planet and how to protect it.
The Y feels that teaching your children ways to protect our planet or make more environmentally-friendly changes like reducing their carbon footprints help prepare them to be more informed adults later on. The environmental focus also allows your children to see the benefit of giving back than taking more.
If you ever visited the Y’s roof, you have likely met Monica Ibacache, an after-school instructor whose environmental focus helped ensure your child learns how to create a cleaner and healthier environment. From having your child plant seeds to growing spices, Monica inspires children to see the Earth-friendly benefits early on and open up their curiosity to science.
One activity Monica hopes to begin is having our after-school visit a working farm, so children can learn about the benefits of buying locally grown food. Imagine shopping with your children, and they are telling you where that head of lettuce came from or how long it takes to grow a carrot.
Your family can also build upon the Y’s environmental focus by joining the Y’s community supported agriculture (CSA). CSAs are green way to buy locally from farmers rather than having your family’s vegetables shipped from Peru, California, or Washington.
In CSAs, community members come together to buy shares of a farmer’s crop for the whole growing season in advance. The CSA also allows you to know where your food is coming from and to make trips to the farm to meet the farmers who make it possible.
The CSA transitions you and your family from relying on fast food or processed, packaged food by encouraging your family to cook at home. Home cooking is an excellent green decision because it saves energy and reduces your family’s carbon footprint. No longer are family meals a trip to the restaurant or Chinese take-out. You can also use mealtime to talk about important local and global issues and later plan a trip to parks around Manhattan to visit community gardens.
Family members who previously participated in our CSA told us that they have eaten healthier largerly because when you buy so many vegetables, you are presented with wonderful opportunities to create new dishes. One mother told us the secret towards getting your child to eat vegetables isn’t sugar; it’s fun. She regularly shares with us family games she uses to engage her daughter in preparing meals using CSA vegetables.
Contact Deborah Katznelson ([email protected]) for further information about the CSA and to become a member. Laura Sataloff ([email protected]) is the director of the after-school program, and she can discuss with you more environmentally-friendly activities your children are doing at the Y.