Farm to Table Learning
Local Culinary Program offers new Agriculture-based Curriculum.
By Virginia B. Wood, 3:46PM, Wed. Aug. 29, 2012
The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts recently broke ground on a new Agricultural Learning Center, an important component of the new Farm to Table curriculum module available to students there. Escoffier Foundation President Michel Escoffier join Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and State Representative Eddie Rodriguez at the ceremonies.
Enthusiastic students joined Escoffier staff members and educators in welcoming the visiting dignitaries as well as representatives of local businesses who will support the Agricultural Learning Center project with partnership donations. After a light breakfast prepared by students, the crowd gathered behind the school facility where Mayor Leffingwell issued a proclamation about the groundbreaking and Representative Rodriguez, founder of the Farm-To-Table caucus in the Texas House of Representatives, spoke about the importance of establishing vital farm to table connections.
While there are only a couple of small raised beds and two lonely fruit trees on the site at the moment, long-term plans call for removal of the grass that now covers most of the 6,000 square foot garden area and students are soon to be busy developing good soil with organic compost from the school's laboratory kitchens. Culinary students will learn to plant, cultivate, and harvest fresh produce to be used in the kitchen while also receiving classroom instruction about the importance of respect for local resources based on ethical and sustainable practices. Escoffier school students will also be encouraged to spend time working side-by-side with area farmers, ranchers, and other food artisans as part of the school's externship program. In addition, children from the surrounding community will be invited to tour the center to help establish a connection to the sources of healthy foods.