Hancock students learn food story

HANCOCK – The science of food, and how food gets from its producers to restaurant and dining room tables were topics of Food Week at Hancock Central High School.

John Sanregret, HCHS principal, said the school started doing “theme weeks” in 1995 during the discovery of the Hale-Bopp comet. It was done intermittently after that, and has been done annually for about 10 years. Topics in the past included water, climate change, and copper. The purpose of the week is to examine one subject from various angles by all teachers.

“Their lessons are all planned around food (this year),” he said.

For food week, Sanregret said teachers had lessons regarding the economics of food, how food is produced and transported, and the science of food, including how food affects the body, such as food allergies.

Sanregret said the week got started Monday with students having breakfast burritos at Habenero’s Fresh Mexican Kitchen in Hancock.

“It was just awesome,” he said. “The kids just loved it.”

Other topics during the week included beekeeping, tours of supermarkets, food allergies, organic food production, and films about eating disorders and genetically modified organisms used in food production.

One of the subjects of food week was vegetable gardening, and science teacher Brian Rajdl said although it was cool Thursday as the vegetable beds were prepared outside the science classroom, it wasn’t too cold.

“It will all germinate,” he said of the vegetable seeds the students will plant.

The students prepared beds for the vegetable seeds with wooden frames. They had to shovel out the sod of the lawn outside the classroom, then turn the soil, which Rajdl said was in very good condition.

“They’re planting stuff that will be ready by the end of the school year,” he said.

In another classroom, teacher Katelyn Sutton had students prepare ice cream in plastic bags using rock salt to explain the science of some food production. The purpose of the exercise was to get students thinking about how some of the food they eat is created.

“If they wanted to, they could go home and do the same thing,” she said of making ice cream.

Sanregret said most of the students appreciate the school’s theme weeks.

“They love it because it’s hands-on learning,” he said.

Two of the students who said they enjoyed Food Week were 10th grade students Alec Fisher and Brennah Wasie.

Wasie said she appreciated the uniqueness of the theme week.

“It’s something different,” she said.

Fisher said he enjoyed a presentation on bread making.

“It was really good bread,” he said.

Wasie and Fisher said they were impressed with a film about genetically modified organisms.

“I’ll probably start watching more what I eat,” Fisher said.