I would like to tell you about some of the activities that Glen and I participate in when we're not hard at work caring for our animals at the farm! Glen and I serve on the board of a non-profit foundation call Recipe for Success here in Houston, www.recipeforsuccess.org. RFS is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity with a complete seed to plate nutrition program. RFS is currently operating at 16 inner city schools and community centers. We have summer programs and after school programs in addition to the direct curriculum work in the schools.
Funded by grants, donations and fund raisers, we are a growing program ( no pun intended!). We have engaged 73 professional chefs who volunteer their time to our kids and the foundation. They work as consultants and hands on teachers in the classrooms. We are the only city in the US with the cooperation and dedication of so many local, professional chefs. They teach a new recipe and technique each month and then the classroom chefs/cooks continue the lesson all month.
The children learn meal planning, nutrition, vegetable and fruit recipes and healthy food alternatives for their families. We work hard just to convince kids that food should not come out of a window or a package and that a Twinkie is NOT a vegetable!
Outside each of our schools and community areas we install gardens full of seasonal fresh produce and herbs, overseen by a degreed horticulturist. Most of what we grow is a new texture, taste and smell to our students. All of our gardens are organic. The students learn patience, hard work, planning, responsibility, and about weather, but most importantly: WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM!!!!!
The activities from our RFS curriculum support many academic areas. In math, measurements, division, multiplying a recipe; science: food combinations, cause and effect, heat, cold, building compost and weather. History: of the plants, seeds, genetics, recipes, and cultural differences and origins of food. English: writing recipes, keeping and noting results, journaling, reporting, food lists and food orders. Our school principals love having us and the food ideas and recipes spill into other classrooms as well! Our curriculum is being "bought" by other cities and school districts to implement there.
RFS is run by volunteers- we do have paid "baby" chefs in the classrooms, but our teachers get training and volunteer their time working with the children and the curriculum. If you'd like to join us and help out even an hour or two a month, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, our volunteer coordinator. We can use classroom, gardening and even administrative help.
RFS also has a commercial yet cozy kitchen available for fun party cooking demonstrations by our chefs- with or without wines, and a menu of your choice. We use our seasonal produce and the chef gives a demonstration for you and your guests- book a party for the holidays! 713-520-0443.
RFS is hosting an annual Harvest Luncheon at which we will award the RFS Outstanding Teacher, Chef and Local Farmer award. Each of these three folks will be selected due to their dedication and support of not only our program but the whole healthy, obesity fighting movement in Houston. If you'd like to come on November 19, just contact the Recipes office and buy some tickets. We'd love to see you there.
The other thing I want to share is that once again, Jolie Vue Farms is hosting Outstanding in the Field, an event where a celebrity chef comes to the farm and cooks on the spot bringing in all the produce, cheese, milk, wine from local farms nearby, and of course using Jolie Vue Farms meats! We have a wonderful time eating at the top of our hill and enjoying the sunset. Glen and I are proud to promote healthy, local organic eating this way too! It is a fun event of about 200 folks. Our ranch staff hustles to welcome our guests from all over the country. OITF is a for profit organization and we only host and provide the meats. They are actually in charge of this event.