September 16, 2013

Starting the year off with a bounty of local food

Last week marked the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, and the cafeteria staff at our island schools opened their doors ready to serve an impressive bounty of island-grown food to their students. I swung by the Edgartown School and saw the beautiful zucchini, corn, beans, tomatoes, basil, and much more that Gina Debettencourt and her staff had preserved over the summer, from their school gardens, from farm purchases, and from the Island Grown Gleaning program. I stopped by the West Tisbury School and saw Jenny Devivio and Mercedes Ferreira in the kitchen washing and spinning huge amounts of kale and salad greens and prepping a bin of deep red tomatoes just picked from the school garden to serve for that day's lunch. Jenny also showed me their freezer filled with locally grown meat from the Good Farm and the FARM Institute that she will serve to Chilmark and West Tisbury students throuhgout the fall and winter. Thinking back to the start of the school year six years ago, before we had any of our gardens, before we had the gleaning program, before local purchasing was a regular part of what happened in our school kitchens, I am thrilled to think of all the fully stocked freezers and pantries at our island schools, and am amazed by what we have been able to accomplish together since Island Grown Schools began. Great thanks to the cafeteria staff, the school staff, the students, the families who took care of the gardens and helped glean over the summer, and to all who help feed our children such delicious, healthy food each day at school and at home. Here's to a bountiful new year!