VFN Farm Dinner with the Burlington School Food Project

July 25, 2013

The Healthy City Farm Crew at Hunt Middle School hosted a Vermont Fresh Network Farm Dinner featuring salad, wood-fired flatbreads cooked in the Hunt cob oven with help from Pizzeria Verita, and Blueberry buckle. All of the vegetables in the salad and flatbread came fresh out of the Burlington school gardens! The students helped prepare the flatbreads and buckle, gave tours of the gardens, and performed dances and songs for the guests. Many thanks to all of those who were involved in making this a fun and successful event! We hope to see you next time!

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Food Fighters Visit the Bees

Our high school interns for the summer, students from the Food Fighters/Garden Club at BHS, have been working in the gardens: planting, harvesting, and weeding, to help keep everything in great condition for when students return at the end of summer. On Thursday, the group weeded the back garden and planted squash starts in the newly formed beds. Afterward, we trekked over to Rock Point School  to check-in on the beehive that Burlington School Food Project adopted. We thought it might be time to harvest the honey, but, while some of the neighboring hives were ready, ours has a few weeks to go still.

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IMG_5579 Photos by Morgan.

The Final Week of Class! (July 22-25)

This week the students learned about our Modern Food System (which, of course, ties in  industrialized foods, too), but they also learned about migrant workers in Vermont, and how many of them suffer worker injustice on dairy farms. They also learned about efforts to return to a more sustainable, local food system.

Thursday was the final day of class. The students spent the first two hours preparing their family recipes, and then family and friends joined us for the feast and for the students’ final presentations.

IMG_5570 The layout: homemade herbed ricotta cheese (made from the stash of leftover breakfast school milks), Ena’s Bosnian Pita, Susma’s Momo Dumplings, Molly’s Frikadellen (German meat patties), Anthony’s Vietnamese Egg Rolls, Andrew’s Shepherd’s Pie, Kevin’s Buffalo Chicken, Laura’s chocolate pudding, and Elizabeth’s chocolate chip cookies. Drinks featured Jessie’s Mexican Drinking Chocolate, Hibiscus Tea, and Fermented Blueberry Fizzy.

It was the perfect way to end the class by sharing the diverse array of cuisines with family and friends and listening to the students present their personal food histories and how they will make changes based on the knowledge they have gained from the class. Susma, for example, stated that she will try cooking with vegetables more often as she likes them more now. Ena said that she has already written to Vermont state legislators asking them to pass the bill that will enforce labeling of GMOs in Vermont. She encouraged everyone to visit vpirg.org, the Vermont Right to Know GMOs site.

We are proud of you all. Thank you, students, for braving the elements, for trying new foods, and for having open minds!

And thank you again to all of our guest speakers and to Partnership for Change for making this class possible.

Class 15 July 18, 2013: Food, Inc. and TV Dinners

Our Industrialized Food Systems week culminated with a viewing of the film Food, Inc. while we ate the TV dinners we made earlier in the week. This was the first time all of the students had watched the film. Andrew, a BHS freshman, said: “I speak for all of us when I say that I was surprised at how many of our lawmakers have connections with these large food corporations” after he learned from the movie that many of our current politicians once worked for the “Big Ag” food companies that dominate our food system. Shocking, indeed.

The film sparked an interesting discussion between the students. Molly commented that she doesn’t understand “how food service is making more of an effort to make the foods healthier, and yet the vending machines are right there in the cafeteria selling junk food, like Pop-Tarts,” to which Ena replied, “Oh, I used to eat those Pop-Tarts! Never again!” Powerful food for thought!

Class 14 July 17, 2013: Trip to UVM CREAM

Today, the class visited the University of Vermont’s CREAM (Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management) to view the works of dairy farming on a larger scale compared to our field trip last week at Blue Heron Farm. CREAM is a student-run dairy operation that participates in the Cabot cooperative.

Elizabeth, BHS freshman, was documentarian of the day and stated  “I thought that the cows didn’t have a lot of space to move over, but I think the farm is a lot cleaner than most of them I have seen. I really liked going there today because it was different and fun all at the same time.”

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The babies! Photo by Elizabeth.

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A Jersey calf. Photo by Elizabeth.

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Farm slippers. Photo by Elizabeth.

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Cows at CREAM. Photo by Morgan.

Class 12 July 15, 2013: Making TV dinners

To commence our week-long study on industrial food, we prepared TV dinners to freeze for our meal on Thursday. We also watched a few YouTube clips and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of industrialized food.

We learned about the different jobs the industry created, the mass migration of people to cities, and how women started working more, which all led to the rise of easily accessible convenience foods. Kevin, BHS freshman and documentarian of the day, commented that fast-food chains, like McDonald’s, as well as “TV dinners started to come into the picture to make things easier, which is why we made our own TV dinners using meatloaf, frozen veggies, instant potatoes, and butterscotch pudding.” Each student prepared their own tray and then we carried them down to the school kitchen to be sealed and frozen.

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Preparing the instant mashed potatoes. Photo by Kevin.

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Completed TV dinners. Photo by Kevin.

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Sealing the trays. Photo by Kevin.