Eat a Rainbow Presented by Travis County Master Gardeners
The Travis County Master Gardeners enjoyed an action-packed day at the Science of Agriculture – Youth Event this past Thursday, February 16, 2023, at the Travis County Expo Center. Except for the last two-year COVID hiatus, this event has been an annual tradition for Master Gardeners to participate in. We coordinate with the Texas Farm Bureau, Master Wellness Volunteers, 4H Members and Travis County Extension Agents to present useful information in a fun way to Third and Fourth Graders at Title 1 schools. For many children, this is their first field trip. Programs this year included Cotton, Dairy Science, Goats, Bees, BLT (Better Living in Texas), Microgreens and Nutrition. Morgan Newton, Texas A&M AgriLife – Travis County Extension Agent, 4-H & Youth Development coordinated this year’s event.
Over 300 Students Taught
The Master Gardeners presented information on Nutrition. The week prior to the event, the Master Gardeners attended a training session on the program. They practiced presenting the program, the poster, and activity for the over 300 students from six different schools participating.
This year we utilized the program “Eat a Rainbow,” developed by Master Gardener JaNet Booher. The program encourages the children to choose a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables at home and school. We use a poster with a colorful skeleton to illustrate how different colored fruits and vegetables help the different parts of the body. For example, we discuss how blue fruits and vegetables help the brain, which can improve memory and schoolwork. The skeleton poster features photos of the fruit like blueberries, plums, purple cabbage, and eggplant. We also show them fresh foods, as some may be accustomed to only canned or frozen foods.
Our session concludes with the children making colorful bracelets using chenille stems and beads; they love this activity! The color of the beads corresponds to the colors on the skeleton poster. While the students make the bracelets, we review content covered and ask them to name even more examples of colored foods. The students keep the bracelets as a reminder to “Eat a Rainbow” at home and school, as well as to share what they have learned with their family.
At the end of our day all the Master Gardeners and Interns agreed that this is a fun and useful activity for the students and certainly an extremely meaningful experience for all of the presenters!
This article was written by Evelyn Hootkins, Travis County Master Gardener and coordinator for the Eat a Rainbow activity.