TEEN TAKE-OVER JUNE 3Tuesday May 26th, 2015 | categories: Uncategorized
As some of you may know, for the last 2 years, I have been working with Central Vermont High School Initiative, located at Goddard College, to develop a high school farm-to-school curriculum. This pilot program, referred to as Community Lunch, has been a source of serious inspiration for me and the students, and with the support of the school faculty, has become the cornerstone of the health and nutrition educational plan. Despite serious funding obstacles (the program depends 100% on donations of equipment, labor, and ingredients), the program has become very successful and students broke ground on their very first school vegetable garden (we are already harvesting and eating greens from the greenhouse)!
I meet with the students weekly to prepare meals completely from scratch (without recipes) using whole foods ingredients, to eat together with guests from the community. While cooking, we talk about food science, culinary arts, food trends, math, budgeting, nutrient density, calorie conversion, and special diets. We experiment with culinary alchemy and cooking techniques while exploring geographical and historical facts. We investigate cultures, discuss politics of agriculture & health care, and discuss wide worlds of topics including sexual health, mental health, and relationships. Then we set the table, taking care to consider our guests, and sit to eat together as we explore what it means to feed ourselves and to nurture each other.
The students participate in this program willingly and with enthusiasm. They are energetic and have lots of ideas of how the “Community Lunch” program can grow, and how we can share this program with others. This year, I proposed a food trailer concept, which will provide a certified kitchen space for the students to refine their culinary skills through hands-on holistic nutritional education. I am excited to announce that the school has approved my proposal, and has plans to purchase a licensed food trailer which will serve as the school kitchen classroom, as well as a vehicle for future student projects centered around food, including community service, job readiness, and fundraising for their non-profit school. We believe that this pilot program empowers students to feed themselves and their communities toward the prevention of hunger, mental illness, crime and loneliness, through real-life, real-food experiences.