The cool kid. You all knew him or her. This person got invited to every gathering and was always the center of attention. They were included in everything, always. Well. I propose that we make health the new cool kid. So often it is forgotten in a flurry of packaging, processed foods and busy lives.
An interesting discovery at a local grocery store in Georgia, Publix, got me thinking about this analogy. There was a prominent kiosk amid the produce section with a full meal cooking demo underway. The Publix Apron’s program wants to bring families back to the table by making meals convenient and delicious. The rep said the program is very popular. Unfortunately the day’s meal was anything but nutritionally balanced. I love the concept but where’s the focus on health? Such an opportunity!
Health should be considered in every cooking demo, meal assistance program and school meal. Start inviting health to your party, every single day.
“Hey! Are you that girl? The girl who rode from Oregon?” asks a skinny kid as I wheel my bike and trailer onto Carp High’s campus. “Yup.” I answer. “I bought a road bike because of you!” he hollers as he rounds the corner, rushing to reach his class before the tardy bell. And that was the start of my great day in Carpinteria.
Highlights from my visit include a farm that produces food for the kitchen, administrators who are passionate about health and real food, enthusiastic & creative food services staff and motivated students. One day on campus gave me great insight into the culture at this school and I was mightily impressed with both the changes that have occurred and their vision for the future.
Construction is underway for a brand-new Culinary Arts classroom that will feature full commercial kitchen stations and a large accompanying classroom. The teacher hopes to move into her new digs by mid-winter. I can’t wait to learn what meals will emerge from this resource! Carp High’s school garden is huge and magnificent. Fruit trees, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, kale, flowers and so much more! Compost plays a key role in the farm’s system and compost tea is always brewing in the shed to help facilitate plant growth. Produce from the garden supplies the daily, beautiful salad bar and I enjoyed a gorgeous plate of greens and veggies for my mid day meal. The kitchen staff proudly showed me around the kitchen and their enthusiasm for the food that they prepare is palpable. If only every school kitchen contained this much passion! Another highlight of my visit was a conversation with a student who recently started a bike club on campus. He was curious to learn about fundraisers and potential events they could host.
This combination of bike love and real food made Carp High a great stop on the SFT. Big thanks to all the students and staff!