Mar 18

Skidmore Students Make the Grade

I’ve decided to return to college.

Last week I had the honor of spending an afternoon with the students at Skidmore College, and now I want a do-over. Nutrition on college campuses is NOT what it used to be. Gone are the days when those who ate anything but the standard American diet were relegated to the salad bar. Today’s dining services place special interests front and center. Not only is the food recognizable, but there are stations for gluten-free, vegan and more.  And, even more impressive is that  EVERYBODY eats from ALL the stations. The options are varied, the meals balanced and the food tastes good!

My host - Erica.

My host - Erica

At Skidmore I was greeted by the SNAC – Student Nutrition Action Council. The mere fact that there is a group of over 40 active students all interested in improving the nutritional offerings on campus speaks volumes! Formed just a few years ago, they’ve gone from struggling to create change, to having significant accomplishments to boast about including a student run garden that last year provided over 1,000 pounds of produce for the dining service, a guest speaker series (hence, my visit), campus composting and inroads to bringing in produce from local farmers to supplement their conventional food supply. Skidmore students are creating change and better health for their community and their environment, and I continue to be inspired by their enthusiasm, vision and positive energy.

Working with Benjamin on the Tofu Kale Lasagna.

Working with Benjamin on the Tofu Kale Lasagna.

I had not been on campus long before I found myself in the Skidmore demo kitchen. Do other colleges have demo kitchens!? This beautiful facility was enough to make me want to move in for good (or at least until I finish testing the recipes for my next book)! Together with a great group of students, we prepared a feast of White Bean & Artichoke Dip for starters, Tofu Kale Lasagna accompanied by Carrot, Beet & Broccoli Stem Salad for dinner, and Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies made in advance by Erica for dessert. Cooking with these young adults was an absolute blast, but sharing a meal and mealtime conversation with them was truly the highlight of my stay (although my morning run and tour of campus and Saratoga Springs with Benjamin was a close second place)!

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Putting the finishing touches on the lasagna.

Carrot, Beet & Broccoli Salad

Carrot, Beet & Broccoli Salad

From dinner, it was back to the lecture hall where even though I was giving the presentation, I couldn’t help but feel the same old pangs of anxiety over having finished the reading, prepared for the test… Nevertheless, my CLEAN FOOD presentation was open to the entire Skidmore and greater Saratoga Springs community and there was no doubt when it was all over that not only do these students get it, but they’re perched and ready to change our world! Never have I felt so encouraged by the growing awareness of and appreciation for the connection between our individual health, and the health of our food system, communities and environment. These students have passion, and they’re not afraid to use it!

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that shortly after being contacted by Erica last fall, I was blessed to meet her mother (who btw, shares the same name as MY mother!). On so many levels, my mother has played an integral part in my  journey. Erica and I clearly have that in common, and what a treat it was that her mother made the trip to be on campus for my visit! So, while my visit left me inspired and nourished by these incredible students and anxious to watch them go out into the world, my own heart was touched deeply by the shared passion and vision of Erica and her mother.

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Sheila (Erica's mom), Erica, Robert and Dani.

My heartfelt thanks to the entire Skidmore community for having me as your guest, for sharing your wonderful family, and for reminding me that the greatest accomplishments always start with a small seed, planted in your heart.

Eat Clean Live Well, Skidmore!

Terry Walters

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8 Comments

  1. Sheila (Erica's mom)
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to let everyone know that the food actually tastes as delicious as it looks. We’re recreating part of the meal tonight- the beet, carrot, and broccoli stem salad– it’s now my absolute favorite! I wouldn’t have thought about using raw beets but they’re delicious (I only had red ones, so it’s very colorful) And it was interesting to hear that it’s a cleansing salad- great for this time of year.- I threw in a little daikon for good measure… Thanks again for the nourishing and informative program!

  2. Posted March 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sheila, I’ll look forward to seeing you the next time, in Rochester, Saratoga Springs, or wherever our paths meet again. I so appreciate your making the trip, and hope the ride home was a breeze!

  3. Erica
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Hey Terry, this blog looks great! Thank you again for coming to Skidmore, everyone has been raving about the food! Rob and Dani saved the leftovers so we all enjoyed them the next day. Right now, we are munching on your Banana Coconut Chocolate cookies-with added raisins. Can’t wait to get a hold of your next book!

  4. Posted March 25, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading this article and am inspired to want to do so much more to make a difference. but, one step at a time. Thank you for sharing this. Skidmore SNAC you rock.

  5. Posted April 7, 2010 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    I just found this blog and very excited about it. Every Tuesday, I go to my local farmers market and buy organic and local sustainable food. Today, I bought beets, carrots and broccoli but not sure what to do with them yet. Can you give me the recipe for the salad? It looks delicious! Many thanks~

  6. Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi Beth, Welcome to ECLW! To make that salad, combine chickpeas, raisins, parsley and cashews with your julienned vegetables – carrots, raw beet and broccoli stems. Then make a dressing out of a minced shallot, lemon juice, maple mustard, brown rice syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk, drizzle, toss and enjoy! For reference, the Julienned Beet, Broccoli Stem and Carrot Salad is in CLEAN FOOD on page 265.

  7. Posted May 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  8. Posted June 26, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Great, I never knew this, thanks.

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