When 64% of the students attending a school qualify for assistance in the form of one to two meals a day, food accessibility and security is a hot topic. This is exactly why I was brought in to work with Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) on their recent Food Accessibility and Security program. While originally intended to simply educate students about the value of a local food system, together we turned it into the foundation for this community to develop and implement their own sustainable food system.
Students watched the documentary “Foodstamped,” participated in Foodshare’s “Hunger 101” program, and took part in a food sustainability fair where they engaged with local farmers, nutritionists, food access agencies and distributors from all over the state. Next they took part in discussions that were facilitated so that students, faculty and administrators could talk all on the same level, share ideas, frustrations and vision for their future.
You can’t make healthy choices if you don’t know what the options are, and you can’t create change if you don’t have a voice. This was the focus of my session which supported the goal of the entire program…to create a sustainable food system for their micro-community. To lock in this intention, the entire community came together to plant their very first seeds.
The event was capped off by a celebration of food featuring dishes provided by some of our area’s favorite chefs and vendors. The entire CTRA community literally tasted how delicious and nourishing it will be to grow clean food that will nourish their community.
Watermelon and mozzerela salad with balsamic vinegar and mint.
And as this program proved many times over, food has the powerful ability to divide us, but its power to bring us together is even greater.
Special thanks to those who nourished us with delicious clean food as part of our celebration of food:
Executive Chef Anthony Camilleri, Rizzuoto’s, West Hartford
Erich Kronschnabel, Flatbread, Canton
Pam Dunn, Boxed Goodes
Urban Oaks Organic Farm, New Britain, CT
Waverly Markets, ShopRite, Manchester and East Hartford, CT
CTRA Students led by faculty member and chef, Tom Kilgus
Here’s to planting the seeds that allow us to eat clean and live well…at CTRA, in every school and in every community!