At Terra Summer, the history and provenance of food—from the beginnings of cooking and agriculture to the mass production of food we see today—are the connecting threads to explore all the questions related to the food we eat, here and elsewhere around the world: Where it comes from; who grows it, how, and under what circumstances; how much our food really costs; the empowerment of the individual to make food choices that are better for us and everyone; our responsibility toward the earth and communal resources; how those resources travel and are treated; awareness of other lands and peoples; respect for our bodies through nutrition and exercise; and how food connects us all, in strife and joy.

Terra Summer is experiential, interdisciplinary, and inquiry-based. Our goal is to help children observe, express themselves, develop opinions, formulate arguments, find information, and present their work.

In 2011 we offered three different sessions:

Session I is designed for newcomers to Terra Summer. In this session we explored the basics of the story behind what we eat, traced the history of humanity from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists to the contemporary food system, and investigated the world of fast food and animal rights.

Session II, called Grains, Tubers, and Social Justice, delved deeper into some of the concepts already explored, such as social justice and fair trade; it focused on more specific food groups and their provenance and refined more complex farming and culinary techniques. Both Session I and II required children to plan, budget and prepare a $12-meal using the principles of humanness, sustainability, health, and affordability.

Session III took children on an exploration of the bounty of street food around the world. We studied the economics and sociology of streets foods in various countries and regions of the world and prepared delicious street foods from those regions. The session culminated with children researching, planning, and preparing a street food from a country of their choice and serving it to their parents and friends at a street food fair at Terra Summer. Children also made their street food stalls from which they served their magnificent foods!!!

All sessions at Terra Summer revolve around Terra’s premise of teaching children to think through food. All sessions will involve cooking and farming, and all sessions will be fun!

All sessions at Terra Summer are vegetarian. We do not eat animals. We made this decision in order to expose children to the concepts behind a nutritional and lifestyle choice that is compassionate and environmentally sustainable. And we want the children to swim in waters that are intellectually and ethically complex. In the past, some parents have reported that exposure to these topics at Terra Summer has caused children to want to change the way they eat outside of our program and to question the food choices in their – your -- home. Parents report that after attending Terra Summer, children sometimes no longer wish to eat meat, and when grocery- shopping with their parents, question or reject foods that were previously normally accepted. This can be a challenging development for the entire family, and you should be aware of it: Children at Terra grow up and change, and often the change is very personal and unsettling! We are happy to help you negotiate the challenges in any way we can. If you have any questions, please call Sybil Fix at 828-782-7842 for more information.

Terra Summer empowers, builds knowledge, and heightens awareness of our world.

© Terra Summer 2009-2011

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