From November through March close to 6,000 kids in 273 classrooms across 21 Whatcom County Schools are cooking with Common Threads. The students–aged 5 through 14–get to peel, chop, grate, stir up, and savor a healthy meal cooked communally.
While we source as much produce as possible from our partner school gardens, especially Whatcom Middle School, these gardens aren’t productive enough to provide hearty snacks for all of our kids. This is where amazing local farms have stepped in.
To help provide fresh produce for our classroom cooking, Slanted Sun Farm, Mariposa Farm, and Pollen Folly Farm graciously invite us to gather leftover crops from their lands. For Pollen Folly Farm, these donated crops pay forward the benefits of their Community Development Block Grant Economic Opportunity grant through Skagit County, which helps them fund infrastructure projects. Other generous growers from Cedarville Farm, Foothills Farm, and Rabbit Fields Farm regularly donate leftover greens, carrots, broccoli, and chives at the end of Saturday Farmer’s Markets.
When gleaned or gifted produce cannot meet our classroom cooking needs, we still reach out to local farms, including Hopewell Farm, which sold us carrots by the 25 pound bag at a wholesale rate. With all of this in mind, we share the opinion of an excited 2nd grader who exclaimed before she dug into her Plant Part Salad: “Thank you to farmers everywhere!”
December through January, we’re gathering greens (kale, chard, etc.), thyme, scallions and carrots to combine with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika–to make a tangy Lentil Salad recipe. The cooking lesson introduces our student chefs to an affordable, nutritious, and ecologically friendly protein source, as well as grounds for endless culinary creativity–with a growing passion for what’s fresh and seasonal!
To learn more about Common Threads, please visit us at https://commonthreadsfarm.org/