You are currently viewing For the love of food!

For the love of food!

Nutrition education is a staple dish of our EcoSchool program, which served more than 1000 students during the 2022-2023 school year. Our staff members teach gardening, composting, cooking, and the math and science lessons that come along with these hands-on activities.

Nutrition Education Specialist Sarah Shelp is often introducing new foods to students, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. She is very aware of the diverse sensory experiences children bring to the table and recognizes that a whole salad can be very overwhelming to students, so she breaks it down and introduces each ingredient individually. They identify the different parts of the plants. They touch them, smell them, and maybe even taste them.

Meet Sarah Shelp

Why do you do what you do?

I can’t stay away from kids. I feel that the real magic in the world lives in the hearts of little people.

What have you been working on recently?

While we’re continuing teaching nutrition education, we’re gearing up to expand into three more schools to focus on garden education, such as how things grow in gardens and green houses. 

ABOVE: SEEDS Nutrition Education Specialist Sarah Shelp tends the school garden at Mesick Elementary School along with Lilli and Thomas.

What inspires you?

People who do hard things everyday inspire me. Teachers inspire me. People who can multitask and still remain present. I’m most proud of people who keep doing things that are scary. I’m proud of the kids who can be brave and try something new. I’m constantly saying that when we’re around people who are brave, we find ourselves being more brave. It’s contagious. I’m proud of the relationships we continue to form in the communities and the more resiliency we build in these communities.

When do you get most excited?

When people do things that they’re not sure that they’re gonna like it, and then they do. I’m so grateful that they trust in me to try something new. I get excited when people trust themselves.

What stops you from giving up when you are frustrated?

I’m modeling when I teach kids. I never want to model what giving up looks like. I want to send these kids out the door with sweetness and positive energy.

ABOVE and RIGHT: Students try new foods with SEEDS Nutrition Education Specialist Sarah Shelp.  

“Witnessing the transformation in these young minds and bodies is both humbling and inspiring. We're not just providing meals. It's a privilege to be a part of their journey towards a healthier, more promising future."
— Sarah Shelp, SEEDS Nutrition Education Specialist

Favorite activity

I love to laugh and catch up with friends, but I really enjoy spending time in nature — being by the water, swimming.

Favorite quote

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller

With patience, a once intimidating salad becomes a set of familiar ingredients that can be used like art supplies with different colors and flavors, making each bite into a celebration of fresh, nutritious goodness. Sarah uses the joys of eating together to create transformative educational experiences that go far beyond textbooks and are invitational to everyone. Under her care, as is true of all SEEDS teaching staff, EcoSchool students are broadly encouraged to embrace the tangible, delicious lessons that life has to offer.

Thank you, Sarah! 

ABOVE: Students try new foods with SEEDS Nutrition Education Specialist Sarah Shelp. 

This project was funded in whole or in part by the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.