From Farm to Table: Lower School Boys Learn More About Food

As thoughts turn to spring gardening, Nicole Cotroneo Jolly, an award-winning journalist, film producer and digital content creator, presented “How Does It Grow?” at a Lower School assembly on April 2, immediately after recognition by the Panther mascot of those boys celebrating birthdays. Her interactive presentation explained the sources of the food we eat, bringing boys, via two videos, to farms that cultivate a few “diverse yet common” foods. Ms. Jolly focused her program on cauliflower and mushrooms, as both were served in Browning’s dining hall that day.

Using language the boys could understand, Ms. Jolly explored the themes of each video, including the connection between consumer expectation and food waste. For instance, farmers need to be sure they cover the head of the cauliflower so it remains white and not yellow; otherwise, they will have to discard it. Even though it will taste the same no matter the color, consumers prefer that cauliflower be white. She explained that it is a rich course of vitamin C, while mushrooms can help prevent cancer. Lots of giggles could be heard when she spoke about the use of “penguin poop” as a fertilizer by farmers in California. Ms. Jolly presented a lively and informative program that grabbed the boys’ attention; she asked questions of them, encouraging their appreciation for how their food gets to their table and how they can make healthy food choices.

Ms. Jolly has written over 100 news articles for The New York Times and appeared on The Food Network and The Travel Channel. Her work on food, agriculture and travel has also been published by The Washington Post, Modern Farmer, National Geographic Traveler, Delta Sky magazine, CivilEats and FoodTank. Her web videos have received multiple honors by The Webby Awards for directing and producing.