hawken students explore sustainability and culture at fire

The past week brought us 44 bright and eager sixth and seventh graders from Doug’s alma mater, Hawken School for a unique two day learning experience focusing on sustainability and culture. On day one  students explored different national cuisines. Students toured the kitchen then worked with the chefs,  learning to prepare some of the signature dishes of various ethnic cuisines including French crepes, Indian tandoor chicken, Italian burrata, and Thai pad Thai.  Finally, students, their teachers, and the fire team enjoyed the fruits of their labor and lively conversation over lunch.

Day two was devoted to an exploration of sustainability. Recently, Doug was named a “Champion of Sustainability” by  the Cleveland group E4S. He was eager to  talk about stewardship at  fire. Students learned that composting, recycling, using locally raised foods, and serving only sustainable seafood via our partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program are all standard procedure here that make good sense for both the environment and for our local economy.  Farmer Ed Butdorf, of Happy Chix Farms in Wooster, was also on hand to talk about sustainable farming, and nose to tail dining.  Next it was off to the kitchen where the chefs showed students how to butcher a whole chicken and how to utilize every part.  Lunch followed. Everyone enjoyed a local foods feast featuring Ed’s delicious roasted chickens, creamy cheese polenta, and tossed salad greens from a local grower who raises crops year round in a hoop house. For desert rich panna cotta made with Hartzler Family Dairy‘s local milk disappeared in a flash.

“We love bringing students in for this program, ” Doug said.”Often times ideas like sustainability can seem overwhelming and unattainable. I really enjoy showing them that even the small choices they make in their own lives can have a positive impact on our community and the environment.”

Thank you to everyone who made this wonderful program possible, including Hawken faculty members and students, Ed Butdorf of Happy Chix,  and of course, our fabulous fire team. Here are a few photos from day two.


Post and photos by Amy Viny

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