Preparing the food we eat is one of our most satisfying activities, and this is especially true for children. All of the children in our community, starting as young as 12 months of age, help to prepare the food that they eat daily. They are given the right-sized tools, lessons and time to be able to slice cheese, peel a large cucumber or hull strawberries. The joy and satisfaction this brings to the child who is able to complete such a task independently can be witnessed every single day in the classroom environments.
This journey continues to broaden and deepen as their skills develop until, as adolescents, they are sophisticated and independent enough to take turns working in the full-size industrial kitchen producing full meals for over 60 people daily.
Gardening is a big part of the children's experience at all ages in the school. Each classroom at the Concord campus has garden beds that are tended by the children so that they can witness the life cycle of the vegetables and flowers first-hand. In this way, they connect their observations and hands-on work to the lessons they receive in botany, such as the various shapes of leaves or how the process of photosynthesis works. By eating and sharing some of what they grow, the children can join the cycle themselves.
At the Huntsburg campus, the garden area expands to an entire section of the outdoor land area, as well as an indoor bioshelter, where each season (including winter), rows of bountiful organic vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown, harvested and used in the kitchen. This produce is sold during the summer at the Concord Campus as part of the micro-economy program or distributed through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program.
We have always encouraged good nutrition through both the food that is provided for the children, as well as through educating parents about some of the best options concerning the food they provide for their children. A representative group of parent volunteers, teachers, staff and students form a Nutrition Committee which organizes guest-speaker events, writes informative articles summarizing their research for newsletters, and helps to facilitate subtle changes in the classrooms. The Nutrition Committee has arranged for superior water filtration devices to be available for the children and the adults. As the children become older, their lessons and studies revolving around nutrition are more in-depth, evolving into chemistry and biology by the adolescent level.