CALABASAS (CBSLA.com) — Fifth-grader turned part-time gardener Emma Leyson is showing off her greens on Muse School’s campus.
“This is the strawberry plant I planted,” Leyson told CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons.
Thought to be the first of its kind in the country, the school recently adopted an all-vegan lunch menu. As part of their curriculum, the students learn how to create food from seed to table.
Eighth-grader Rio Caster also has a green thumb.
“Everything we grow, we pretty much eat for lunch,” he said.
Paul Hudak, who runs the program at Muse, works closely with the school’s master chef to prepare a variety of vegan choices for the kids.
“We have kindergartners eating kale! And I didn’t know what kale was until I was 19,” Hudak explained. “And that really expands their palettes, in part because they own it. Once they plant that seed and they grow it through, they are deeply invested in that.”
Before rolling out the new menu this school year, the staff held lectures and seminars to educate parents. Ultimately, the school decided going all-vegan was the right choice.
No off-site food is allowed onto campus, everything served is plant-based, and the school believes this process educates kids on health and making better food choices.
“It was difficult for some parents,” said Jeff King, head of Muse School. “There’s a lot of myths around brain development and animal protein. There’s a lot of misinformation about meat and dairy products.”
And for many students like Leyson, the program is already bearing fruit.
“They other day, we made tomato soup, and I grew rosemary and it was in the soup and I was excited,” said Leyson.