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Vegetable Plot

To give thanks to God for the diversity of vegetables and celebrate them in our diet

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To give thanks to God for the rich diversity of vegetables and celebrate their place within our diet.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to display a range of vegetables, to include:
    - root vegetables (e.g. carrots, parsnips, swede, beetroot, onions);
    - tubers (potatoes);
    - leaf vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower - which, as the name suggests, is really a flower head swollen with food;
    - vegetables which are fruits and seeds (marrow, runner beans, broad beans, peas in their pods).
  • The vegetables might be displayed in a wheelbarrow or put into greengrocers' bags to be introduced in turn by a group of children.
  • Follow-up: Help the children to make vegetable soup, and share it.

Assembly

  1. Remind the children of last month's harvest assemblies and any harvest celebrations. Explain that you have been shopping for vegetables, which all come from plants, and show the collection.

  2. Invite the children to identify the various vegetables. Highlight their different colours and shapes. What part of the plant does each vegetable come from? Do any of the children have vegetables growing in their gardens? Are there local fields in which vegetables are growing?

    If time allows, you could pass some veg around, asking children to describe the feel and smell of each.

  3. Point out that vegetables are in season at different times of the year, e.g. peas and beans grown in this country are only available in the summer. In the past, and still in some countries today, some vegetables were dried so that they could be kept to provide food for winter months. Today, frozen and canned vegetables are available for us to enjoy all year round, and fresh ones are flown in from all over the world.

  4. Invite the children to reflect on how vegetables are prepared and cooked. Which do the children like best? Explain that vegetables are an important part of our diet. They contain iron, calcium and the vitamins we need to keep our bodies healthy. Point out that in the days of long sailing voyages, a diet with no fresh fruit and vegetables meant that sailors suffered from scurvy - a terrible disease caused by lack of vitamin C. The symptoms were awful - swellings, feeling very poorly, teeth falling out, and being too weak even to get up. Some people even died of the disease - which is another reason to eat your vegetables!

  5. Conclude by reflecting that without vegetables our meals would be boring and unhealthy. At harvest-time (last month) we said thank you to God and to farmers for the food we have. Let's remember the message of the vegetables all year round:

    Eat us - we're good for you!

Time for reflection

'And God said: "Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit."… So the earth produced all kinds of plants. And God saw that it was good.' (Genesis 1.11, 12)

Creator God,
Thank you for the different shapes, colours, smells, and tastes of vegetables.
Thank you for vegetables growing in fields and gardens.
Thank you for the people who prepare and cook them for us to enjoy.
Amen.

Song/music

'The Vegetable Song' (to the tune 'Mary, Mary quite contrary')

This song can be sung responsively with the questions and answers sung by two groups and the final verse sung in unison.

Farmer, farmer, in your tractor,
What harvest do you grow?
I've lots and lots of carrots and
potatoes all in a row.

Farmer, farmer, on your tractor,
What harvest do you grow?
I've peas to please and runner beans
and marrows all in a row.

Farmer, farmer, on your tractor
What harvest do you grow?
I've cabbages and cauliflowers
and Brussels sprouts all in a row.

Thank you farmer, for your harvest,
For everything you grow;
And thank you God for all things good,
For vegetables all in a row.

Words © Alan M. Barker.

Publication date: October 2002   (Vol.4 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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