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Thoughts on food revolution editorial

January 23, 2014
Lake Placid News

To the editor:

I was thrilled to see your article titled "American food revolution could begin in the Adirondacks," and there is no doubt that there is powerful momentum gaining in our area to that end. I witnessed evidence of this movement when I attended the North Country Youth Food Summit this year. The energy around growing and eating healthy food, from both teachers and students, was enormously heartening. How encouraging it was to see dozens of teenagers feeding off of each other's excitement about composting, worms and fresh vegetables. The enthusiasm was palpable.

Most powerful for me was to see my students walk out with a feeling of pride, as they realized how lucky we are to already be so deeply rooted in the farm-to-table movement. Since the 1930s at North Country School and Camp Treetops, we have had a tradition of celebrating the importance of food, where it comes from, how we think about it and how we share it. We are reminded time and again how valuable that connection to our food is and how important it is to continue to find ways to nurture those connections in our students and our community. In the recent years, our farm, kitchen and academic programs have developed exciting momentum toward the kind of cohesion that makes for a true food revolution.

As our students wake before breakfast to care for our chickens, design and build new raised beds, plant a seed or feed fish in our aquaponics garden, share a meal brimming with food grown in greenhouses close enough to see out the window, and haul buckets of food scraps to our compost pile, they are making authentic connections to the food they eat, to the natural world and to each other. Though this is part of our past, we are trying to move into the future with more focused energy, innovation and creativity on the farm, in the kitchen, in the classroom and in the community.

As a not-for-profit organization with a farm at 2,200 feet elevation, we believe that this revolution is not about money or easy growing conditions, but about commitment. It's about providing our community with healthy food and educating our students about the importance of our local food system. We feel lucky to be a part of the Adirondack food revolution and look forward to moving ahead in this shared commitment with other farms and schools in our community.

Katie Culpepper

Farm educator, North Country School, Lake Placid



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