Last Saturday afternoon, I was asked to speak on behalf of Vegas Roots Community Garden at a Junior League Las Vegas event entitled ‘Kids in the Kitchen’. The event aims to promote healthy eating from an early start. Not going to lie, I wasn’t sure what type of ‘healthy’ eating was going to be promoted at the event. Mind you the event took place inside the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum where milk, eggs and cheese are being promoted as ‘super foods’. Check out this display… gross! I think the idea behind the museum is great and I hear they are moving to a new location for higher quality education however having displays promoting cows milk, eggs and cheese are not the truth. Scienctific FACTS tell us that these foods are breeding grounds for cancer, heart disease, high blood pleasure and varies illnesses. Not to mention the cruelty involved in these foods. Note to the museum, if you want to shift into promoting true ‘super foods’ like local organic vegetables and real healthy conscious living for children, I can help.
After that display, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be up against. To my surprise, the event was promoting a mostly plant-based eating promoted which is a step in the right direction. One volunteer was making green smoothies for the kids. I was very happy to see the volunteer use soy milk in the smoothies and was telling the kids about the difference between cows milk and nut milk. Thank goodness! After seeing the milk display, that was a shining light. Another local chef was showing kids how to make fun yummy creations using plants which was fun however his assistant was using the USDA pyramid which includes dairy and heavy emphasis on meat as protein. The good news is they actually talked about plant-based proteins as alternative to meat.
I also had an interesting chat with a woman who runs a local food bank. I was asking about the food banks views on plant-based eating and the shift toward eating plant-based to feed the 1 billion starving population. This is a topic I’ll be expanding on in the future!
Then it was my turn to talk. It was my first time talking with kids about healthy living so I wasn’t sure how it would go over. I brought broccoli flowers with me from my garden plot to get the kids excited about plants.
Because I was talking on behalf of the garden my talk emphasized eating organic and local vegetables which I am passionate about. I started off by talking about where plants come from. Explaining that we actually can grow vegetables in the dessert. Talked about the difference between the plants you find in the supermarket covered in chemicals and the clean plants at the garden. I feel good that the kids were understanding what I was talking about. I brought broccoli flowers and cotton to the talk to peak their interest in plants. It TOTALLY worked!
a queue as forming for seconds, thirds and even fourth servings of broccoli flowers !
Now in full disclosure, Vegas Roots Community Garden does have two chicken coops. It’s not the main attraction but it’s still a small part of the project. I know that the chickens are treated well and they are not killed or tortured. As a vegan, I totally understand why some vegans would not support a place with a chicken coop. I do know of some local vegans who do not support the garden because of that reason. How I see it is I want to make sure that a ‘conscious + compassionate’ advocate is part of the project to be a voice for the animals when needed. Also the greater vision of the community garden is to green the city and promote healthy living with plants which I support 1000%. It’s a give and take. The reason I don’t eat eggs and promote egg-free living is because of the cruelty associated with the mass production of eggs and the high cholesterol in eggs. They are simply not the ‘healthy’ protein food as commonly marketed. The fine line that I see with eating eggs is if someone just eats eggs from local farms that is not killing or torturing chickens. The places that just let the chickens be and people eat the eggs. I would never say it’s ‘OK’ to eat eggs in general however as of right now I’m not convinced my energy is best spent fighting against eating local eggs from this type of place. I focus on promoting healthy, organic and local plants! When I was talking to the kids I did mention about the chicken coop. I explained that chickens are our friends and NOT our food. I said that it’s good opportunity to make friends with animals and be kind to them. I didn’t go into the discussion of eating eggs because of the age of the children and didn’t want to over complicate the issue. I want to learn the best way to explain the point of why we shouldn’t eat eggs to children.
Overall, the experience was rewarding because of the children’s reaction towards broccoli flowers. They gave me hope that more children can love eating plants. I love talking about plants and this was an interesting opportunity to share my passion in a new way. The kids are now excited to visit the garden and their parents were on board too. I felt that I did a good job promoting plants, the garden and still being in line with my personal morals and ethics. I’d love to continue to talk with children about plants. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!
ps. I got an idea while I was writing this post… What do you think of the fusion of community gardens and small farm sanctuaries? Maybe there are some out there but I don’t know of any. If you know of any, please let me know. I think that would be a great shift towards conscious living!