I can remember stepping into a mud brick building.
They called the space — the kitchen.
here was a boiling cauldron in the room filled with smoke and coals,
— and pieces of ash flying around as if it were Armageddon.
The cook was trying to boil enough meal to feed thousands of people.
The boat oar swirled with great effort into the big iron pot —
–which once prepared, would be sloshed into bowls where students would line up by the hundreds, before breaking down into groups of three or four, around every prepared bowl,
— to eat the gruel — with their fingers.
The cook knew the students could not survive only on meal alone — they needed nutrition.
So they would pull cabbage from the field, and chop it up, adding it as a relish to the mix.
It seemed they didn’t have enough.
Nobody seemed to notice.
Village schools know that children who worry about where their next meal is coming from — are not able to focus as easily on absorbing the lessons from their academic studies.
To address this, the headmaster created a plan to address the hunger of his students. The students at different grade levels alternated one day a week each to work in the fields which produced the food that maintained them in their studies. Meals like this cabbage soup recipe make a big difference in small villages.
The process seemed to work. The students were better nourished than the children who did not participate in the fields, or have access to the program.
Cabbage is one of the world’s healthiest foods, and includes high levels of manganese — which fight cancer, and Vitamin B1, Vitamin K, and gives students a boost of academic energy and mental concentration . Cabbage is also a food that is easily grown by children. Try out some cabbage today – with this comforting Cabbage, Sausage & Potato Soup Recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
The short tender cabbage roots need only a little soil to be able to produce a decent volume of food, which means — they could even be produced on the rooftops of inner city schools with minimal efforts — and can grow in the hot tropics or even the mild winters with only a bit of environmental adjustments.
What if every elementary school in more developed nations planned a four-hour nutritional production course and field into their curriculum?
Surely — it wouldn’t cost as much to keep them nourished, with all of the efforts and hands involved. From the spirit of Oliver Twist, may every orphan and student whose stomach growls be able to enjoy a second bowl of comforting nutrition.
We hope that the next time you eat cabbage, you remember the children in the fields.
Have a comment or story to share? Leave a message below.