Locavore LitFest 2014: From Farm to School
Chestertown’s annual celebration of writing about food and nutrition returns March 27-30 with a focus on making school lunches healthier and local farmers happier.
CHESTERTOWN, MD—The annual Locavore Lit Fest returns to Chestertown March 27-30 with talks by nationally known writers and regional experts, this year with a focus on youth, nutrition and agriculture. Topics will include “Farm to School” programs and teaching children how to garden.
The weekend kicks off that Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Bookplate bookshop with a wine and cheese tasting and a talk by Liza Goetz, agricultural science teacher at Kent County High School. Offered as a fundraiser for the festival, the wine and cheese tasting will feature local wines from Cassinelli, Crow Farm and Salisa wineries, and cheeses from Eve’s Cheese and Chapel Country Creamery. Donations will be accepted at the door. The Book Plate is located at 112 S. Cross Street in downtown Chestertown.
On Friday night on the Washington College campus, keynote speaker Chef Ann Cooper, a.k.a. the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” (pictured above with school children) will discuss her latest book, Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with more than 30 years of experience as a chef, Cooper is a passionate advocate for better food for all children. She is now focused on creating a sustainable model for how the nation’s K-12 schools can transition from processed foods to whole foods that are procured regionally and prepared from scratch. She has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC’s Nightline, PBS and numerous other media outlets. Her talk takes place at 7 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall, in the College’s Gibson Center for the Arts, and will be followed by a Q&A and a mini farmer’s market featuring fresh produce.
The festival continues Saturday morning with open houses at the Washington College campus garden and the Chestertown Middle School garden. Both gardens will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to noon, with gardeners on hand to answer questions and showcase the early spring crops.
Saturday at 1 p.m. Amy Kalafa, the author of Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health and the filmmaker behind the documentary Two Angry Moms, will give a talk at Emmanuel Church Hall in downtown Chestertown. For more than 25 years, Kalafa has produced award-winning films, television programs and magazine articles in the field of health education. A holistic health and nutrition counselor and a Lyme disease consultant, she holds a lectureship at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry. A Q&A and book signing will follow her talk.
At 2:30 p.m., a panel of local farmers, food service professionals, educators and advocates will share perspectives on the challenges of bringing local foods to schools in our region. Karen Fedor, the Farm to School State Lead at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, will serve as moderator. Afterward, a reception will showcase locally sourced and freshly cooked school lunch alternatives as prepared by Washington College students in professor Bill Schindler’s class, “Food, People, and the Planet.”
The festival concludes on Sunday with an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center (SEEC) at Knocks Folly, Turner’s Creek, outside of Kennedyville. Activities include hands-on gardening for children, canoeing (weather dependent), a guided walk while foraging Native American food pathways, and light snacks. SEEC’s primary mission is to help close the ever-widening gap between children and the natural world by improving environmental literacy. It provides public school students with outdoor experiences that are integrated into their classroom curricula as they move through elementary, middle and high school, each year building on the previous year’s experience.
The Center for Environment & Society at Washington College sponsors the Locavore Lit Fest as part of its mission to support the free exchange of ideas about environmental issues. Other sponsors include the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Department of Anthropology and Rose O’Neill Literary House, along with Chestertown Natural Foods, Town Creek Foundation, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Future Harvest CASA, Adkins Arboretum, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, the Chestertown Spy, and the Kent County Arts Council. With the exception of the wine tasting at the Bookplate, for which donations at the door are suggested, all events are free. For more information, contact 410-810-7162 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.washcoll.edu/centers/ces.
Festival Schedule at a Glance
Thursday, March 27
6 p.m. – Talk by Liza Goetz & wine and cheese tasting
The Bookplate, 112 S. Cross Street
Friday, March 28
7 p.m. – Chef Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Gibson Center for the Arts, Washington College
Saturday, March 29
10 a.m. to noon – Guided tours of Chestertown Middle School garden (402 East Campus Ave.) and Washington College campus garden (adjacent to the Western Shore dorms and behind Rita’s Italian Ice, 504 Washington Avenue)
Afternoon events at Emmanuel Church Hall, 101 N. Cross Street:
1 p.m. – Amy Kalafa, author of Lunch Wars
2:30 p.m. – Panel discussion of Farm to School programs in Maryland
4 p.m. – Reception showcasing locally sourced school lunch alternatives
Sunday, March 30
1- 4 p.m. – Open house, canoeing, foraging walks, and garden activities for children, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center, Knocks Folly, 13761 Turners Creek Road, Kennedyville.