There’s nothing unusual about bringing a shopping list to the grocery store and planning menus for your new restaurant – unless you’re eight years old. Each year, the High Meadow School in Stone Ridge assigns its second graders the class project of starting a restaurant, and this year, the students came to the High Falls Food Co-op armed with their recipes and list of ingredients. They asked questions of the staff, they looked through the produce and dry goods, they took a tour of the basement storage area, and they bought what they needed for their new restaurant.
Under discussion, and new information to even some of the parents who chaperoned the outing, was how a co-operative differs from a regular grocery store and whether it’s fun to work at a co-op.
Transmitting to the next generation the importance of healthy food is very important, said General Manager Jodi Fogel. “It was exciting to see all these kids here at the coop. I feel extremely fortunate that at some time in my life I was exposed to health food, and as a result the quality of my life is a lot better. My relationship with food has determined the quality of my health.”
The perspective of these second-graders may be a little more near term. “They wanted to see how we buy food. We explained about deliveries coming in, we talked about ordering,” said Jodi. There was also some discussion about the differences between the co-op and larger chains such as Hannaford’s or Shoprite.
Second grade teacher Joanna Shaw said the idea was for the children to incorporate local ingredients into their final menu and to be more involved with the local community. “We thought what better places than the High Falls Food Co-op. I have a personal connection because I worked there when I was younger and Marybeth [Wehrung, who also teaches second grade] was on the board.”
story by: Ilona Ross