ETCM is a platform to engage in conversation about the link between food, health, and the environment. How can we affect change as individuals, while collectively transitioning the way we eat at home and in our school dining halls from conventional to conscious?
In its second year, Eco Top Chef Marin brings together middle school students from throughout the county, takes them on four field trips, and pairs them with professional chefs to inform students about healthy food, growing, labeling, ingredients, and sourcing.
Students from five Marin County middle schools along with student ambassadors who participated in ETCM 2012 have been selected to participate in this unique and innovative program. Participants expressed a strong interest in healthy food, food equity, and sustainable practices. The program consists of six formal meetings, four field trips, and two planning sessions with students and their Chef partner. Field trips include a visit to Green Gulch Organic Farm with Marin Organic, the San Rafael Sunday Farmer’s Market with the Agricultural Institute of Marin, a green grocer tour at Whole Foods Market, and a visit to the restaurant of their partner chef.
Each school team will be paired with a Marin based professional chef. These teams will be tasked with developing a full menu that meets the school lunch budgets and far exceeds the nutritional values and standard recommended by the USDA.
The culminating event for this program is the ETCM Challenge on Saturday, May 18. Each team, in partnership with their lead chef will prepare a four course menu with thought and attention to the food wisdom they acquire over the course of this project. Each team will present their menu to an esteemed panel of judges. One team will be the selected as the ETCM 2013 Champion.Peers, family, school faculty, and community members are invited to attend the Challenge and share in a tasting following the presentation. The goal of this work is to see such options integrated into school lunch and snack programs.
February 27: Introductory Meeting at Ross School
April 17 + 24: Whole Foods Market Tour (Blithedale and San Rafael Stores)
March 31: San Rafael Farmers Market Tour
May 2: Green Gulch Farm Field Trip
May 18: Eco Top Chef Marin Challenge
- Utilizing wisdom learned from ETCM 2012, Ambassadors will be tasked with creating a plan for one positive change on their school campuses as it relates to a more sustainable food program.
- Each team of Ambassadors will present their plan at the ETCM 2013 Challenge Finals on May 18.
- Ambassadors and school teams will work to implement the plan on their school campus.
Goals and Benefits:
- Engage students, ambassadors, and teacher advisors in collaborative work to transition school food programs from conventional to sustainable
- Inform all participants about the benefits of local, organic, GMO free, non processed, whole foods in school dining halls and in daily food consumption
- Highlight “locally grown” through farm and farmers market field trips
- Work with students on developing skills to become strong advocates for fresh produce and food options in their school dining facilities, lunch, and snack programs.
- Understand the relationship between the cost of food and opting for healthy foods with high nutritional value
Benefit to Students:
- Increased knowledge and awareness about the importance of eating fresh, local, organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Students adopt healthier eating habits and spread the word
- Students likely to try new foods and choose healthier, higher-quality foods more often
- Knowledge from chefs on food prep, how to read and follow a recipe, and food safety
- Introduction to the Teens Turning Green organization along with opportunities for social action projects
Benefit to Schools:
- Collaboration opportunities – students will work in groups and with peers from other schools
- Students will become informed about healthy food and a sustainable environment through partnership with non-profits, businesses, and professional chefs in our community.
- Students will be engaged in a leadership opportunity and can share the experience with their peers and community