Today I met with Bob Densmore, co-leader of the Culinary Farm Project at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the campus facilities, including their three gardens, chicken coop, kitchen, outdoor oven, and greenhouse. The space was absolutely beautiful and provides edible education curriculum for kindergarten through 8th grade, a project that has only been around since 2012. The farm is directly linked to their lunch program, thanks to Bob’s co-leader Chef Jason Hull. The Food Service Department is an impressive on-site operation that is included in the yearly tuition and provides healthy meals made from scratch everyday. The kitchen sources food from the gardens whenever it is available, and otherwise, uses organic and local ingredients whenever possible. They also have composting and recycling systems, order food items with minimal packaging and have minimal waste. The program emphasizes mindfulness education by using the garden spaces to teach and motivate youth and adults to better understand and reflect on where food comes from. They use the act of mindful farming and eating as a way to preserve students’ relationship with nature and themselves. The strongest message they hope to impart on the children is an appreciation for being mindful and fully present. Their curriculum is divided into three sections, Grades k-2, Grades 3-4, and Grades 5-8. Each age group has a different schedule, themes, big ideas, essential questions and activities. Some examples of essential questions include:
(K-2) Where does our food come from? Where does it go?
(3-4) What does it mean to be healthy and what can I do about it?
(5-8) What are the benefits of slow food in a fast paced world?
“What we are calling for is a revolution in education – the Delicious Revolution. When the hearts and minds of our children are captured by a school lunch curriculum, enriched with experience in the garden, sustainability will become the lens through which they see the world.”