What’s for Lunch?
Post by Bailey Adams // Photos by Bailey Adams, Maggie Andresen, and Katy Carlson
At Gardens for Health, our daily farm lunch is the epitome of our community spirit and model. Each day, we gather together as an organization alongside our neighbors, local and international visitors, early childhood development participants, and other community members for a nutritious meal directly from our farm.
Coming together around our big farm table, this daily lunch is at the epicenter of our community engagement. It is where we can all gather together, with everyone from the country director to the women who work on our farm, and bond over the power of food to create community. It is a time for sharing stories, laughing together, and building relationships.
Every day, we serve foods from each of the colors represented in our “four-color wheel” model for dietary diversity. The four-color wheel is one of our core models for community behavior change. At its most basic level, it is easy way for vulnerable, low-literacy level populations to remember the components of a balanced diet and the health benefits of different kinds of foods.
Each day we have different variations of these colors in the form of a starch (such as rice, ibitoke (plantains), or potatoes), a green leafy vegetable (such as spinach, kale, or amaranth), a sauce (either peanut sauce or cassava leaf sauce), beans (often mixed with carrots and other veggies), fresh greens, avocado, and pili pili (hot peppers).
Because lunch is served buffet style, everyone has their own unique way they like to prepare their food. Some like even ratios of each component, while others prefer the starches or the greens. Some like their lunch full of sauce, where others like it dry. Some create what we call volcano plates, piled high with food like a volcano, while others might prefer a little less. It is always fun to see the creative ways people find to prepare their lunch each day. Check out some of our favorites below!
Maggie, Communications Fellow, with her “Nyungwe Forest” lunch
Monica (left) and Nic (right), representing the Operations and Finance teams, with their “Dry Season” lunches.
Geofrey (left) and Katembo (right), representing the M&E team, with their “Lake Kivu” lunches.
Anysie (Left), Partnerships Coordinator, with her perfect “four color” lunch. Jessie (Right), Farm Fellow, with her “volcano” plate lunch,
Bailey, Development Manager, with the “Virunga Forest” lunches.