DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. –The typical elementary school lunch usually consists of foods like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, and macaroni and cheese. A more unexpected menu item – organic soup made from locally grown vegetables – shook up lunch Thursday at Springhurst Elementary School in Dobbs Ferry as part of Harvest Soup Day.
The vegetables used in the soup weren’t just grown locally, they were grown right in the school’s outdoor classroom garden, supervised by Ellyce Cavanaugh, an ELL teacher, and the Ecology Club. Teachers, parents and students worked together to harvest the vegetables and make enough soup to feed the entire school for lunch.
“Kids who never eat vegetables consumed more than one bowl of soup,” said Cavanaugh. “In this day and age of junk food and obesity, it’s important that kids know how vegetables grow and how nutritious they are.”
The students planted seeds at the end of the school year and watched the plants grow and change. When it came to harvest time, students were eager to be involved.
“What you do it you take the vegetables and make soup,” said Amy Allen, a fifth-grader. “I always get the recipe each year and my grandma liked it so much that she wants me to bring it to Thanksgiving.”
Other students were impressed by the quality of the ingredients.
“You know everything is fresh from the garden,” said Shirin Dadina, a fifth-grader. “That’s what’s best.”
A quick glance at survey filled out by students rating the soup revealed mostly excellent reviews, but as with anything, not everyone was pleased.
“They should have grown pumpkins and had a pumpkin pie day,” said Max Parekh, another fifth-grader.
Along with organizing Harvest Soup Day and supervising the Ecology Club, Cavanaugh is helping the school go green by recycling juice pouches, teaching students about wildlife studies and the environment, and working to create a nature trail on campus. The Dobbs Ferry Energy Task Force awarded Cavanaugh with the Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence Tuesday night to acknowledge her dedication to environmental education and bringing sustainability initiatives to Dobbs Ferry schools.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition and honor,” said Julia Drake, principal of Springhurst Elementary School. “Ellyce has been a driving force in our school, and district-wide, in our efforts to go green.”