May 30, 2014

School lunch with local food: economic common sense

LAKE PLACID — The prospect of buying food grown or raised here to feed local children is as old as the oldest dirt roads.

But fitting farm-to-school-fork policy into the modern era is about as novel now as the first boxed cake mix was in 1930.

It doesn’t have to be that way, says Mark Kimball, who farms with his wife, Kristen, and their children at the Essex Farm in Essex.

They sell fresh farm products to Keene Central and Schroon Lake school cafeterias every week and have for two years now.

Mr. Kimball will present their perspective at the Farm to School Festival today, an afternoon event that will fill the oval in front of Lake Placid Middle/High School with farming, food, fun and music.

In its second year, the festival is sourcing locally grown options for the school lunch table.



“The theme that we’re focusing on at this year’s festival is Five Fingers of Food. First, if you’re looking at your hand, what made that hand?” Mr. Kimball said in an interview Thursday.

“It’s made of atoms and water. It is nourished by what you eat. And the higher-quality food you eat, the healthier you are able to be.

“If the purpose of school is to give people a sense of the wonder and potential in life, then food ends up being one of the most unifying forces in a school curriculum, ever.

“We all eat. I think it becomes a jumping off point for poetry, for science, for language, for math and economics — it can inspire kids about the life they get to live.”

The Five Fingers of Food each represent one aspect of delivering food to the table, Mr. Kimball explained.

“You have the soil the food comes from — that’s one finger. Then the climate it grows in, the farmers that grew the food, the cook and then the eater.”

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