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Youth and Nature’s Gifts: Honey, Potatoes, Pork and Tea! December 1, 2010

Posted by gfsa in Countdown to P2S, The How To's.

Jaryd Murray, from the Edmonton Public Skill Centre, brought his Culinary Arts students out to the Parkland Conservation Farm on October 6th.  They took part in an interactive program that focused on connecting youth to their food.  The day’s activities were organized so that the students could discover real life examples that support Principles of Sustainable Food. Staff at the farm are working on exploring and developing a new Sustainable Food for Youth Program that is built around Sustainable Food Principles, so this was a good experience for all involved!

During our hike on the farm’s natural trail and in the organic gardens, the group harvested and collected potatoes, garlic, beets, carrots, parsnips, rosehips and mushrooms; just some of the foods that they used to make lunch over an open campfire.  Honey and mint were also foods they used that came straight from the farm.  Onions, pork and flour were all sourced from other local farms.  The free range pork was made into sausage using a traditional recipe.  And the bread was sourced from Treestone, an artisan bakery in Edmonton that uses traditional baking techniques.  The delicious lunch consisted of roasted vegetables, sausage on a bun, bannock with honey, and rosehip and mint tea; all prepared on site!  Also accompanying the lunch was sauerkraut and Nick’s own green tomato relish, a tasty favorite!  Real butter and olive oil was also used in the food preparation.

Other activities enjoyed during the program were visiting the hens and picking eggs, seeing both the backyard and vermi-compost bins, learning about beekeeping, storing the crop and matching plant-to-food on a slideshow presentation.  The student’s instructor, Jaryd, even took home a farm fresh turkey that he was planning on roasting for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner the following weekend!

Some sustainable food principles that were discussed, using examples from the day’s activities are:
o Food is grown/raised/processed locally avoiding transportation.  The closer it is to the point that is consumed, the better.
o Food can be obtained from the wild if it is done so without damaging the natural ecosystem.
o Processing enhances food nutritional qualities and/or preserves foods for off-season use
o Food production is in sync with the natural environment and supports biodiversity on which food production directly or indirectly depends.
We need to think of food (based upon sustainable food principles) as a gift that is tasty and cherished when eaten and sustains human health, providing nutrition that allows people to be healthy over generations.

The Parkland Conservation Farm is located near Mundare, Alberta and has since had a name change to incorporate the new and important direction the organization has taken.  ARSAN, or the Alberta Rural Sustainable Alternatives Network is the new name.  The purpose of ARSAN is to demonstrate possibilities of a new, sustainable way of life with a focus on developing a sustainable local food system.  The Parkland Conservation Farm site is now a network of ARSAN.

Since 1997, the Parkland Conservation Farm has offered the Agro-Environmental Education Program (AEEP) to youth from both urban and rural areas in Alberta.  Building on the success of this program and supporting the organization’s new purpose, staff from ARSAN will be developing a Sustainable Food for Youth Program which will replace the AEEP.  The program we had on Oct. 6th is just a glimpse of the new and exciting ideas we have for youth education.  And we are looking for creative ideas, support and funding to develop and implement the new program.

Please see the following link to view a picture gallery from the program on Oct. 6th:

Thank you!
Pamela Gottselig
Manager, Parkland Conservation Farm
Alberta Rural Sustainable Alternatives Network
780-764-3927      pamela@arsan.ca



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