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Middle School Cookin'

In Wilbur Purdue’s middle school Sustainability class, students completed a cooking unit that asked the question:

Which is more environmentally sustainable to shop for locally grown produce or produce that is transported from other parts of the world?

Students determined what foods were available locally from farms in Central Whidbey and then determined how three variables impacted the carbon footprint generated by three categories: waste, transportation, and processing.

Using the website students were able to manipulate variables like distance and waste that can be greatly reduced when you purchase from a local producer. The food waste calculator made clear to students the dramatic impact local food chains make to reducing carbon.

The website: let the students find recipes based upon ingredients. This unique search feature allowed recipes to be found that used multiple local ingredients. Using these recipes that incorporated such ingredients as squash, onions, greens, and other seasonally appropriate items they then began to look at the carbon footprint.

They found that transportation and waste were significant contributors to increasing carbon footprints and that by reducing what you purchase and decreasing transport you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Students celebrated their research by learning good food practices and then cooking a meal. The students worked in teams using cooking carts purchased with grant funds received by Coupeville Farm to School from @tulaliptribe. Recipes included Duchess Baked Potatoes, Golden Oven Fries, Chick Pea Ball Sub Sandwiches, Chicken Pot Pie, and Chipotle Chicken Tacos.

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