Knowing, Growing, Cooking, Sharing, Eating
We believe that nutritious and delicious food, raised by people not corporations, is a right and not a privilege. Working to ensure accessibility to locally-sourced meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, and grains is key to this belief. For more than a decade, The Community School has been a food hub, serving up weekly Farmers’ Table lunches, summer dinners, and our annual Giving Thanks Feast, all made from the most lush and delicious local foods we can grow or find within a 75-mile radius, supporting not only our own farm but more than 70 local food producers. In order to maximize accessibility, our meals are served on a by-donation basis, with few notable fundraising exceptions: our annual On the Banks of the Bearcamp Music and Smoked Meat Fest and Slumgullion Dinners.
During the corona virus pandemic of 2020, our kitchen went into full production to make meals for our community. We retrofitted our farm stand with freezers and a refrigerator stocked with 400-500 meals each week, offered by donation with the guideline to pay “what you can or what you think the meal and service is worth.” Through this program, we supported those suffering from economic downturns brought on by wide-spread shutdowns; those who feared due to the unpredictability of viral contagion the most basic chores of shopping for groceries; and our neighbors who simply craved the emotional sustenance good food lovingly-prepared can bring to a table. Local farmers and producers donated goods, folks with means sent funds to underwrite the program, and many bellies were filled. This work will continue for as along as there is need during an uncertain time.
As part of our over-all efforts to build food awareness and security, students and staff preserve the local harvest to be savored through the colder months when we still crave that particular freshness but can’t nip out to our gardens to find it! Learning to safely process that which we raise ourselves helps us to close the loop of self-reliance.
Food is integral to our school programs, with students growing and tending seedlings, caring for our birds and animals, planning for pasture rotation, using the sciences of breeding to manage our animal reproduction, and understanding the fundamentals of four-season growing in the Northeast through building of a bioshelter. Local food production is one antidote to the complex issue of global climate change.