The Whole Plate: A Return to Real Food
May 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
So runs the title of a wonderful, wonderful project that my mother-in-law and her long-time friend and collaborator, Jane Siemon (a.k.a. the wife of the Organic Valley CEO, or, CIEIO, as he likes to be known, George Siemon) have put together. You see, some years ago, Jane, a nutritionist by training, has single-handedly created and executed a cooking/nutrition program at the Youth Initiative High School – the school that was born in Jacob’s mind some 13+ years ago and that is now his place of employment as well as the source of general personal fulfillment. Now Youth Initiative is an independent school in our little jewel of a town – Viroqua, Wisconsin – that uses the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf Education as their primary guidelines.
Anyhow, I want to tell you more about Jane’s cooking program. Every year, all the students at the school do an intensive, grade-appropriate, several-weeks-long cooking/nutrition course, where they learn about what is truly healthy to eat (hint: butter is on the list), as well as how to prepare it. No matter what the culinary climate is at home, the kids learn how to appreciate and put together meals that are genuinely nourishing, as well as gain the general understanding of the our nutritional needs and how they can be best met using wholesome, organic, unprocessed ingredients. I think this is really an important service that Jane does to the kids, their families, and the nation at large – while our big government in Washington is beating around the bush as to what to do about our obesity epidemic, Jane is doing it by showing those future adults what healthy eating and cooking is really all about (hint: making your own food from scratch and avoiding over-processed empty-calorie products).
Jane could do it, and now so can you, thanks to the nutrition curriculum that Jane has put together based on her years of teaching at the Youth Initiative. With the help of my mother-in-law and other wonderful people who did their part to put it all together, it is now available for sale in the packet form. From where I’m standing, the true shift in our food culture is being brought about by people on the ground like Jane, who, year after year, generously share their wealth of knowledge with the next generation of cookers and eaters. Want to bring this wonderful program to your school? Learn more about The Whole Plate curriculum on the project’s website.