Comfort Food
Kate Houle

"I think something that I have felt at Conserve is how alive food is! I would say from crafting recipes, tapping trees, and even learning about agriculture in Science, food has become something in motion: flowing, growing, softening, baking, etc." - Clio Johnson CS20. 

It is common knowledge that breaking bread is a pastime that promotes good feelings and bonds between people. Food brings people together even when location prevents them from breaking bread together. Conserve School has always had a healthy food culture. Some favorite times of the day for both staff and students were mealtimes together. Students often chose to help in the kitchen during their time here on campus. Many enjoyed planning trail meals for camping. As CS20 (Spring 2020) classes moved to online formats, many students and staff wanted to continue to connect as a community through recipe sharing, meal preparation, baked goods, and food photos. Below are some of the ways the CS20 Community found to nurture their connection at a distance.   ​

Math teacher, Caitlin Lemley, started an informal Baking Club where students posted about the baked goods they had been creating since returning home. Teaching fellow and food enthusiast, Maia Stack, started a food photo-sharing board where staff and students shared incredibly aesthetically pleasing food photos. During our Earthfest Celebration, there were three different food-related workshops for students. They included, "Fermented Bread AKA Sourdough," presented by Math teaching fellow, Max Trostel, "Celebrate the Dandelion" (making dandelion "coffee" and omelets), presented by Cathy Palmer, Director of Student Life, and Jean Haack, Stewardship Coordinator, and "Sweet or Savory? Environmental Justice And Ruminating on Power," presented by Maia Stack, where students had the choice to learned to make Cheddar Cheese Biscuits or Triple Chocolate Chunk Scones while talking about power systems and the impact of Covid19 on dairy farmers.

On Wednesdays, Eleva Potter, Director of Conservation Programming, led an optional Lunch and Learn Series for students with themes like Sprouts and Spring Rolls, Avocado Sushi Rolls, and Veggie Tempura, and Cooking with Wild Edibles. Students were also able to attend a virtual field trip to Voss Organic Farms for a farm tour.

In Outdoor Skills class, the teachers created a Back Country Cookbook filled with trail recipes contributed by both staff and students as a gift for CS20 students. In Earth Art class, students participated in The Hunger Challenge with Students Rebuild. Students took a favorite recipe and turned it into a work of art to raise money for hunger. 

Food is something that we can all be grateful for if we have it, and we probably often take for granted, but it is so much more than that. Food is about community, sharing, and comfort. Food is about being creative, learning, and evolving too. Food is also about being healthy and fueling our bodies with nutrition. Knowing how to obtain and prepare food is power. Like Clio said, "food is alive!" 

Providing food for someone when they are in need, cooking a meal for a friend or partner is a nurturing act of care and love. As a community, whether we are near or far, we still want to share food! Even with the great physical distance between us, this is why this particular aspect of Conserve School culture has remained robust.

Photos contributed by CS20 Staff and Students.