Class 4: June 27, 2013 Fire by Friction and Group Meal

Today we walked to Crow’s Path at Rock Point School where we met Teage O’Connor and Lauren Akin who gave us a fire-by-friction (using a bow drill) and song demonstration. We were all amazed at Teage’s ability to build the fire from such few materials and with the high humidity. Once Teage built the fire, we all took a moment to reflect and say what we were thankful for. We are certainly all thankful to have had this experience; many thanks to Teage and Lauren! For more information about their work connecting people with the natural world through relationship at Crow’s Path, check out their website here.

Before our visit at Crow’s Path, the students helped to make dandelion greens pesto using the greens that we found from our wild edibles outing and de-shell peas from the BHS gardens. After Crow’s Path, we went back to the school to have our group meal.

“When we got back to class there was food everywhere; there was roasted chicken aka quail and pidgin [back in the time period we were focusing on]. There were johnny cakes, oven roasted roots with wild dandilion pesto, raw honey and real butter.” -Kevin, BHS freshman

This week featured:

-Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions with dandelion green pesto

-Foraged pheasant-back mushroom and BHS peas

-Baked chicken legs

-Blue cornmeal johnnycakes with local honey

Thanks to Sarah and Laura for cooking the delicious meal while we were gone!

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Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers and onions with the dandelion greens pesto. Photo by Kevin.

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Pheasant-back mushroom from our wild edibles search, garlic scapes, dandelion greens. Photo by Morgan.

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Students helping to make the pesto. Photo by Morgan.

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Sarah showed the class the difference between local VT eggs and factory farmed eggs. Photo by Morgan.

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A student de-shelling peas from the garden. Photo by Morgan.

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Class 3: June 26, 2013 Foraging for Wild Edibles

Today we had an awesome lesson with Craig Carlson down at the Intervale about various wild edibles in the area. We all expected to hike a bit through the woods, but there was so much to identify where we started that we didn’t end up moving much farther than 20 feet.

We found and tasted:

Wood sorrel, day lilies, yarrow, wild mustard, wild lettuce, plantain, dandelion greens, clover, and a giant pheasant back mushroom, amongst other things.

Even though it was pouring rain and the mosquitoes were relentless (not exactly ideal conditions for foraging), we agreed that it made us feel all the more primitive searching for our food in uncomfortable conditions and we still really enjoyed our time and learned so much.

Elizabeth, BHS freshman and documentarian of the day, affirmed this by saying: “Today was so much fun because our class learned so much from it! It was pretty cool to see flowers we see everyday and know you can eat them.”

Elizabeth also wanted to document Craig’s quote: “Bacon is the other vegetable,” after he declared that bacon makes all of these wild edibles taste even better. We thought they were pretty tasty without any help, and we learned that these plants have far more nutrients than any head of lettuce we can find in a market or grocery store.  Thanks again, Craig!

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Craig asked, “What would you try to eat first?” Snails, anyone? Photo by Elizabeth.

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Tasty wild plants. Photo by Elizabeth

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Craig found a giant edible mushroom that, interestingly enough, smelled like watermelon. Photo by Emma

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The class foraging at the Intervale. Photo by Emma

A video of a student interviewing another student (with the giant mushroom as a microphone, of course) on the way back from foraging:

Class 2: June 25, 2013

Today we made a timeline of Vermont food history, starting with the Abenaki tribe, and then we toured the gardens and harvested peas. One of the first things our documentarian today, Susma, a BHS freshman, said to the class was that she didn’t like vegetables. Today she tried the snap peas and declared that she does in fact like them!

Lesson of the day: “Don’t hate vegetables until you give them a chance.” -Susma

Photos by Susma

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Hardening the vegetable transplants so that they will survive in the gardens 

20130625-114658.jpgHarvesting peas in theBHS garden

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Sarah giving us a tour of the gardens

Class 1: June 24, 2013 Meeting the bees

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What is a food system? Examples of different models of food systems. Photo by Morgan

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Students drew their own food system diagrams with ideas of their “ideal” food system, where they primarily fit into a food system, etc. They also studied various food packaging to discover where it originated. Photo by Morgan

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Results from the investigation. Photo by Morgan

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First field trip: Visiting our adopted beehive at Rock Point School with History Teacher and Beekeeper Gus Buchanan. Photo by Morgan

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Bees at Rock Point School, Burlington, VT. Photo by Morgan

Summer Class on Champlain Valley Food History and Production

Twelve lucky students this summer have the opportunity of taking a month long class about the history and production of food in the Champlain Valley. Not only will they be receiving a half-year high-school credit, but they will also be learning about, growing, and cooking food, as well as partaking in many fun and educational field trips. Each week includes guest lectures, field trips, garden work in the Farm to School gardens, and a fresh communally prepared meal corresponding to the week’s theme.

Week 1 will focus on the Pre-historic Food System and includes foraging for wild edibles and cooking our meal over an open fire.

Week 2 on Colonialism featuring a lecture on grain grinding and bread making and a tour of a local farm.

Week 3 on the 1800’s and focuses on preserving through fermentation and the students bartering for goods.

Week 4 on Industrial Food Systems with topics such as victory gardens, commercial dairy, and our own prepared TV dinners.

Week 5 on the Modern Food System featuring the students’ personal food stories, migrant justice in Vermont, and will culminate in a lunch and showing of food stories with family and friends.

For the class, instructors Laura Allyn, Sarah Heusner, and Jessie Mazar opt out of homework assignments and instead focuses on hands-on and engaging activities. The class involves frequent journaling to assist the students with their final project, an expression of their own food stories. There will also be an elected student, called a ‘documentarian,’ each day to help record the day’s activities with pictures and videos as well as provide a personal anecdote for this blog.

Laura Allyn is an International Foods and Health Instructor at Burlington High School (BHS), Sarah Heusner is the Burlington School Food Project Farm to School Coordinator, and Jessie Mazar works with the Burlington School Food Project as a Farm to School educator. Morgan Osborn is the Burlington School Food Project Garden Educator Intern for the summer and will be assisting the students with their blog posts.

We would also like to thank our wonderful sponsor Partnership for Change for making this educational adventure possible.