Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Need help connecting?

At the Farm Aid site there is a Farm-to-School 101 Toolkit that can guide your efforts to establish relationships between your school and local farmers. The toolkit outlines 7 steps for getting started, gives some interesting case studies, has a FAQ section to help brainstorm and has a list of tools and resources.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What's good for lunch?

We all want to eat better and sometimes it’s easy to get into a rut and be bored with the same old foods. Here’s an article from the New York Times that is called The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating. I found I actually had five of them on hand, but I’m going to stock up on the others. They’re all easy to find and easy to eat. In fact, the original article at Men’s Health gives more details and interesting ideas about how to incorporate them easily into your – and perhaps your school’s – diet

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The White House garden

There was a special culinary showdown for Iron Chef America where the First Lady gave the chefs their special challenge: each team had to create the ultimate meal for America, using the White House Garden as the 'secret ingredient.' After the Iron Chef battle was held at the White House, the Food Network published the garden plot and this information:

Garden Fun Facts
The garden cost $200 to start just seven months ago and has already generated more than 700 pounds of produce
15 volunteers a week, plus five full-time chefs, care for the 1100-square-foot space
Grows six types of lettuce along with greens and spinach, eight types of tomatoes plus tomatillos, and five types of cucumbers – plus dozens of other varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruits.

  • First of its kind here since Eleanor Roosevelt's time

  • Near this spot is a one-of-a-kind bee-hive that has produced 134 pounds of honey.

  • Fruits and vegetables that Thomas Jefferson grew at Monticello are growing in the White House garden.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is the theory behind school gardens valid?

Caitlin Flanagan’s article in The Atlantic, Cultivating Failure, is rubbing lots of people the wrong way. Blogs are buzzin’ and the Twittosphere is a flutter with heated opinions. Basically Flanagan contends that the school garden movement makes promises that it can’t keep or confirm and that it’s not a good idea to change school curricula drastically based on a fad. She says it is “predicated on a set of assumptions that are largely unproved, even unexamined”. She also bluntly asserts that Alice Waters of the Edible Schoolyard has been largely responsible for launching this movement without any evidence that the kind of learning that may come from these gardening experiences in schools is a valid substitute for the classes it replaces. Flanagan asserts that Waters has no educational background, yet she admits that Waters enjoys support from Delaine Easton, the California State Superintendent of instruction.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A reason to celebrate - over and over again

Orcas Island has hit on a great idea: the Celebratory Lunch for the Farm to Cafeteria Program. Different island gourmands prepare a special lunch once a month featuring wholesome local food, mostly made from scratch. Professional and amateur local chefs sign up for the month they want and it's practically become a regular feature at the school cafeteria. The students love it! Who wouldn't? It's a great idea that could be adapted by other communities. Read about it in Bullwings

Monday, January 4, 2010

In praise of the rutabaga!

There is a delightful article in today's New York Times singing the praises of a little known vegetable: the rutabaga. Melissa Clark tells of first resisting and then being totally enchanted with this vegetable. She suggests roasting as the best way to cook it - and isn't roasting the best way to cook so many vegetables? Here in Washington we grow rutabagas, so if you haven't tried one lately, first read this and then try them again. You're in for a treat.