The Produce Moms Podcast

Episode 34: Getting Produce into the Classroom with Teacher and Innovator, Julie Cates

“Julie is authentically passionate about raising awareness of our industries’ critical issues and teaching academic standards in the process. It’s really a remarkable approach to education.” 

When it comes to innovation in the classroom, 6th-grade teacher Julie Cates, 2015 AG in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, is an inspiration.  While she and her students live in Central Valley, a region considered a major producer of stone and citrus fruits, nut products, and the #2 dairy producer in the US, they are also in a food desert.  Most of her students live in rural areas where mini-marts stocked with convenience foods become the main staple for the dinner tables.  Many of the children in Julie’s classroom come from low-income families and are classified as Title 1 students.  Many of her students have never eaten some of the most common fresh produce.  One student had never tried a fresh strawberry.  

“There are students who have never tried a strawberry, romaine lettuce or green beans. When they can help make the food, they have buy-in and enjoy trying new things.“ 

Julie has been a follower of the Produce Moms and utilizes the Produce Challenge to revolutionize the way her students experience fresh produce.  Each week Julie focuses on a new item of produce through the Find Your Favorite campaign.  Not only does she allow students to help prepare and eat the food, she incorporates the items to help meet academic standards through educational activities.  She and a colleague have also developed a Breakout EDU game to help educate the students about invasive pest species that affect the crops in their region.  Julie leverages the critical issues in the industry so students become more invested in a local problem that affects the global market.  The work she is doing is changing the eating habits of her students and empowering them to live healthier lives.

“We are educating students on a local problem that affects a global market. We really want the students to become citizen scientists.” 

If you are ready to incorporate more fresh produce into your life, it may be time for you to take the Produce Challenge! Receive weekly emails with recipes, produce tips, and tutorials to make the challenge easy. The Produce Challenge is a simple way to reach that goal of eating healthier in the new year.

If you are interested in the ways Julie has seamlessly incorporated produce into her academic lessons, follow her on Twitter (@cates_julie) or find her on Instagram (@teachercates).

Some Topics we talk about in this episode:

  • Introduction // Julie Cates – 1:15
  • How Julie Uses the Produce Challenge – 4:12
  • Living in a Food Desert – 7:02
  • Innovation and Education/Math and Produce – 10:09
  • What is AG in the Classroom? – 12:47
  • Julie’s Work With Flip Grid – 20:03
  • Education and Inspiration – 25:25
  • Wrap-up – 27:22

How to get involved.

The Produce Moms Podcast is live on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.  If you like what you are hearing on the podcast, reviews, subscriptions & ratings will help us keep this going!  It would mean the world to hear your feedback, and we’d love for you to help us spread the word!

Episode 34: Julie Cates

Episode 34 of #TheProduceMoms #Podcast features former CA Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, @cates_julie. Learn how she innovates to bring #freshproduce into the classroom! Click To Tweet

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