Farm-to-Fork Summer Academy Comes to Sac State
Meet Instructor Nicole Rogers
Growing up in rural Washington, near the Idaho border, Nicole Rogers was already living the Farm-to-Fork tradition. “There wasn’t a lot of fast food,” she recalls, “so we ate a lot at home. My mom fixed fresh food, what was in season, and what was available.” Rogers plans to bring her home-grown appreciation for local harvests, and what she calls the region’s “beautiful food,” to Sacramento State this summer.
Rogers will lead the new Farm-to-Fork Summer Academy for High School Students, two separate sessions: July 11 – July 15 and July 18 – 22. “There could not have been a better leader for our academy,” says Liz Arellanes, coordinator of the Summer Academies at the College of Continuing Education. Two of the last four years Rogers has led the Farm-to-Fork initiative at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“I often say this region was Farm-to-Fork long before we could give it a name. It’s really up to us to be good stewards of this treasure so we’re Farm-to-Fork long after we’re gone,” says Rogers. She’s been working with a group of good stewards, including farmers, chefs, food literacy advocates and grocers, in shaping the Farm-to-Fork Academy.
Teens will learn “the story of food and its impact on their health, the community and the economy” during the one-week academy, explains Rogers. The “farm” element includes field trips to local farms and the experience of getting fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins to store shelves. The “fork” component will help teens evaluate their eating habits, learn about nutrition and test their food literacy. They will learn about different careers, meet agriculture experts, nutritionists, grocers and chefs, and even develop and prepare their own recipes. They will eat fresh food every day.
If requests to the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau are any measure, the Farm-to-Fork movement is taking root, so to speak. Individuals from Hawaii, Ohio and Oklahoma have asked for information on becoming their own Farm-to-Fork communities. Of course, only Sacramento is “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital,” now, a trademarked phrase.
The goal behind the Farm-to-Fork Academy is giving teens “a sense of pride that they live in America’s Farm-to-Fork capital,” and become food savvy, says Rogers. “If I can have them be educated consumers, even if it’s one-percent more than where they started, I think we’ve done our job.”
Sacramento State Biology Professor Jamie Kneitel leads the second new academy, Go with the Flow: Ecology of Water. The Summer Academies for High School Students include forensics, engineering and robotics, biotechnology, health careers, multimedia journalism, law enforcement, fire and emergency services, civic duty, fashion and theater and performing arts.
-Article by Sharon Ito