Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feed the children well

First, a number of people have been asking me about the composter: yes, it's operational (which is good, because the bowls of vegetable scraps in my kitchen were getting a little... unwieldy). Apparently my latecoming to composting in Columbia Heights meant that I did, in the end, have to buy a can, rather than find one in an alley. Luckily my friend Rudy (doing the serious drilling in the photo above, along with his neighbor; not to be confused with the person doing an Oscar the Grouch impression in the trashcan: that's me) had a little free time to swing by and pick me up at the hardware store with my earth-but-not-bike-friendly-soon-to-be-composter. The last pic is of my first batch of leaves and scraps. I'll post some compost updates for those who are interested (and who can get past the fact that they are reading, by choice, updates on the progress of someone's compost bin). I'm excited.

I'm also excited about a panel I happened upon just this afternoon downtown, The "What is Farm to School? -- Opportunities to Bring Healthy, Local Produce to DC Cafeterias" brown bag hosted by Friends of the Earth. Of course, as a former public (and charter) school teacher, the public education system holds a special place in my heart. And food issues in schools? School gardens? Nutrition education? Sign me up.

I learned today about the National Farm to School program which is an initiative that links school food service groups to local farmers. (Incidentally, I heard about the brown bag talk from my friend Ashley who I met in a bike maintenance class -- see what I mean about fortuitous conversations? Keep those ideas coming!). And I was impressed when I learned that nearly 9,000 schools across the country participate in this program that integrates fresh fruits and veggies into school breakfasts, lunches, and after school snacks. I'm hoping to visit a few participating schools, but it will have to wait until I am on the road since it turns out that DC public schools have yet to buy into this. But there is hope. Groups like the Farm to School Network and DC Hunger Solutions are doing all sorts of advocacy and outreach. Maybe some of you folks around the country are in places where schools have this program. If not, you might look into asking your school principal or PTA why you don't. Hey, I'm not telling you to harass people because our kids deserve better food. Oh, wait, yes I am. Because they do. (Okay, maybe not harass. Advocate. Pester. Loudly.)

Perhaps the most sage comment of the afternoon came from one of the presenters during the closing discussion. Vinnie, of the Master Peace Community Garden, put it simply: "It doesn't need to be revolutionary. We can start small. Get some food sometimes to some schools. Then build on it." Right on.


  1. Way to go you! That's a good-looking little compost can. I'm jealous. Wait. Did I just say I was jealous of your composting can?

  2. In the picture of the innards of the compost can, is there a bone (chicken) on the ground in the upper left corner of the photo?

  3. Good question. I'm hoping the rodents think it is a rat bone and stay away lest they meet the same fate. Moo ha ha ha.

  4. Hi I'm pretty psyched that you started this- can't wait to hear how the progress goes,, composting in the middle of DC- pretty cool.

  5. Alameda County, CA subsidizes worm bins for its residents. When I was in grad school in Berkeley and too busy to get a dog, I absolutely loved playing with my pet worms. (sadly, I'm not joking)


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