New farm-to-table initiative at career center is gaining community support

New farm-to-table initiative at career center is gaining community support
November 01
12:30 2018

The WS/FCS Career Center Culinary program has been awarded a first-place blue ribbon for co-creating an innovative farm-to-table project focused around telling a new Story of the Plate across the city of Winston-Salem and beyond.

This project is a part of a comprehensive effort of several teachers at Career Center to integrate experiential learning into their classes that include Alternative Energy, Environmental Science, Culinary Arts, Digital Media and others.

Culinary arts teacher Chad Estep enthusiastically stated that “This is the future of education! Connecting our students with all the steps of food production sets them apart from other graduates.” He continued, “We are deeply honored to receive this award and hope that this curriculum spreads beyond Career Center campus.”   

Long-time teacher of the Career Center’s popular Alternative Energy course and co-founder of this innovative curriculum design initiative, Kai Ehnes stated that “the course curriculum that we are co-creating here can be replicated anywhere, at any school and most importantly it prepares students for the economy of the future: a bio-based economy.”

“Telling a new story of the plate is simply about reconnecting with natural cycles that make life possible on our little blue miracle planet” said J. Eric Mathis, co-director of the organization spearheading this Curriculum Design initiative. “It’s about understanding that waste is a resource when you consider the larger web of life. Connecting waste-to-soil and soil-to-food.”

“I am excited that environmental science may very well become the norm of the future if this initiative is successful.” Environmental science teacher Andrea Knudsen continued, “To live in a world where food production and perhaps all production processes are commonly understood is a future full of hope and most importantly filled with connections between people and the natural environment that supports all life.”  

The Story of the Plate theme helps not only students but the entire community to both understand, and more importantly experience, one of the most important cycles of a bio-based economy: the food cycle. Beginning on Oct. 20, students, community members, volunteers from local businesses and many others began planting food at Miracle Grounds Farm at Crossnore Children’s Home as well as many other partner gardens across the city including Betty and John Holmes Food Bank Garden, Anthony’s Plot and Golar Community Garden.

“It’s all about connecting the future with the present and our future is our youth,” stated Kyle Luth, an environmental educator with Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve, who is helping to develop the new curriculum, along with Gardening Angels (a youth gardening club at Ken Carlson’s Boys and Girls Club) and Career Center’s curriculum design initiative. Luth went on to say that “there appears to be, both in older and younger generations, a disconnect, where many fail to recognize the natural processes that produce the foods we require for happy, healthy lives. It’s our hope that, through this new curriculum design initiative, we can begin to tell a new Story of the Plate and hopefully rebuild these connections from the Soil up!”  

“We are proud to be supporting this transformative curriculum design initiative that may not only change the way we do teaching but may very well change the way we do everything we do!” Emphasizing the importance of this curriculum design initiative for the county as a whole, assistant principle Hayes continued, “it’s simple, we are preparing our students and community as a whole for the economy of the future.”  

Enthusiastically, Miracle Grounds Farm Director Adam Keener said, “All are welcome to join in! Urban Farming is a Divine path toward creating healthier and more relational communities.”

Keener ended with a contemplative quote by E.M. Tiffany, “I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds.”

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