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Grantee Blog 2020

Preserving food to sustain and nourish

As we close out this unprecedented year, a group of amazing culinary arts students from Orange High School reminded us how humans being among the most adaptable animals on earth, and nothing has shown us how adaptable we can be than the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year has also reminded us the importance and power of connections with one another  through food, even virtually.

Earlier this month, Montclair Community Farms delivered fifteen do-it-yourself kits for a two class virtual series.  Students from Orange High School’s culinary arts program learned about Montclair Community Farms,  the importance of growing their own food, and how empowering it can be to sustain and nourish yourself with food that you grow.  In the second class, students learned about how farmers grow more produce then they need, and how extra produce is preserved in innovative and creative ways.  And because this was a culinary arts class, they were led through a seasonally appropriate cooking lesson making cranberry conserve, a holiday classic.

Overall, the class was a resounding success and one that we will continue as we move through the pandemic and during the winter months.  Ms. Badruddin, the Culinary Arts teacher, remarked that this virtual class “was the greatest number of students with videos on since we started remote teaching” and the source of many enthusiastic messages from her students.  As one student remarked, “Ms. Mustafa did an amazing job answering questions and informing us about what she does.  She asked questions to see if we’ve grown food or preserved produce. Ms. Mustafa was very relatable and made me feel very comfortable during the demo. We made cranberry sauce and during the demo she asked us about the consistency and taste of our sauce.  Step by step she made sure we were all on the same page. She kept us engaged throughout.’  Another student even made a video that beautifully captured the lesson.

As we move into 2021, we look forward to teaching, learning and growing together in-person.  In the meantime, we are thrilled to find new ways to engage with our community,  inspire youth, and share a connection from seed to soul while feeding and nourishing our community.

About the Grantee

Township of Montclair

The Montclair Health Department is a founding member of the Montclair Community Farms Coalition. Montclair Community Farm’s mission is to serve as a local hands-on resource that engages and educates the community through urban farming, affordable food access and healthy living. At the heart of Montclair Community Farms is its Coalition, partners, and community volunteers.