Chicken Doesn’t Come in a Nugget

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I came upon the regional (Piedmont VA) Flavors Magazine which describes itself as “seaonal, local, sustainable, artisanal and unique” in a round about way*. But as fate would have it, have perhaps found in it a resource for the future Floyd Earth Day 2009 web site (under re-development) and possibly–if we have time– as a program topic and future endeavor within our county.

I heard a good bit at the SEJ conference in October about the work being done to create closer links between local produce and meat producers and large-volume consumers like school and university cafeterias.

The most recent issue of Flavor Magazine has the piece “Teach (and Feed) Your Children Well” [pdf] that describes the hurdles and rewards of such an effort. It ends with the following advice, –partial list:

✔ Research Department of Health and Department of Agriculture regulations and be sure you will be able to comply with them. Don’t fear the hairnet or the rubber gloves.

✔ Consider becoming ServSafe certified. The lesson on bacteria and viruses is absolutely fascinating and will scare you into using sanitary practices.

✔ Tailor your program to your region’s available products.

✔ If your school system has a home economics or culinary arts program, try working with the department’s staff. Those students need knife skills, and you need diced vegetables!

✔ Develop a positive relationship with your school district’s food distributors. They are often willing to work with local producers when both supply and demand exist.

* The editor contacted me for permission to use one of my shots of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm for a future edition of his regular column in the magazine (Rebel With A Cause) and I, of course, agreed!

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