New year, new energy!

I love January.
It feels so fresh and full of promise. There's no better time to re-energize, re-focus, and get new initiatives underway than when you're looking out over a whole new year.  So what are our goals and plans for the BCS kitchen in 2015?

Fresh from the success of our Holiday Break Super Take Home Bags...
 (for the long holiday vacation we packed up 20 bags, each with a beautiful whole chicken to roast plus instructions, along with potatoes, carrots, onions, bread, butter, sugar cookie ingredients and clementines)
...take home bags are up and running in the new year. So far in January we've packed up ingredients for vegetarian burritos, 2 different breakfast-for-dinner menus, and macaroni and cheese with butternut squash. Check out Sarah's darling illustrated butternut squash instructions for this week's
Illustrated squash instructions by our multi-talented director

We are looking forward to a great year of new ingredients and new recipes in the bags.

Cooking classes
Sarah and I are working on our plan for bi-monthly cooking classes this year, in conjunction with family dinners. Our idea is to have one or two classes that cover some basics and versatile dinner recipes, then move on to some cool themes (like break making, pie, making bases for soups, etc) and guest instructors. We already have our eye on a few of our favorite food collaborators.

Several BCS folks have been attending monthly Professional Learning Community events hosted by our friends at Shelburne Farms. The over-arching theme is sustainability in early childhood programs, and past meetings  have included discussions on the role of nature and outdoor curriculum in early childhood settings.
Last night BCS hosted the meet-up and discussion about food in early childhood settings. I cooked...

Sarah made salted caramels

 and she and Ruthie (our incredible Program Director) gave tours of our space before we all settled in to discuss creating a positive food culture, inspiring healthy eating habits in kids and food justice.
It was truly an inspiring night.

BCS teachers and friends listen in at the PLC
PLC attendees from Pine Forest Children's Center and King St. Youth Center

The topic of food and kids  has so many branches reaching into so many areas, it can feel impossible to get your arms around it. Bring food justice, and sustainable food systems into the conversation and suddenly the issues can seem impossibly overwhelming.
That feeling is how Sarah described our staff reaction to a viewing of A Place At The Table - a 2013 documentary on food insecurity in America by Kristi Jacobsen and Laura Silverbush. The problem seemed so large we felt  like we'd never be able to affect any change. But then we realized that, in our own small way, we already were.

When I was growing up my dad  - always an active volunteer in our community -was fond of repeating the phrase "think globally, act locally" whenever I would get worked up about world problems. It came to mind as Sarah and I talked, the day after watching the film, about all the small things happening in the BCS community that were addressing the big issues discussed in the film. Things like family style meals served to kids every day. Our participation in a community program to put gleaned local produce in the hands of our families. Take home food bags free to everyone. Family dinners.
We realized that working in our own small community wasn't just the best way to attack food insecurity on a large scale... it was the only way.

It felt great to talk to a larger group about our journey so far, and the steps toward food security we envision for our families moving forward. We all came in to work the next day with some fresh energy and a renewed sense of purpose.

Of course, I'll be keeping you updated on all of our progress here.
And, new for 2015.... on Instagram as well! Please follow bcs_lunch_lady on Instagram for great pics of lunch and kitchen happenings at BCS.

Thanks, and I'm so glad you're here!