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 1: June 24, 2013 Meeting the bees


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


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


Results from the investigation. Photo by Morgan


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


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.