Field trip! NEGA Farm to School Regional Coordinator Maggie Van Cantfort got her start in hands-on, experiential, outdoor education at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, GA. First as a middle schooler and much later as an Environmental Education Instructor. This week she took a field trip to her old stompin’ grounds to check out what NEGA Farm to School FoodCorps service members are doing with the brand new Rock Eagle garden summer camp program.
Before touring the garden site, she enjoyed an excellent meal in the Rock Eagle dining hall that featured fresh green beans and yellow squash from the Rock Eagle garden.
Chef Aaron is excited to test out new recipes with the garden harvest, such as carrot top pesto. He also makes veggie dishes a little more exciting by adding a hint of jalepeno to summer squash and a dash of red pepper flakes to braised red potatoes and green beans (which the staff were raving about!).
The garden is incorporated into the pioneer history site, so no modern equipment or technology is used (or at least not seen) in the garden.
Last summer (the first with the garden), 1,000 lbs of produce went from garden to cafeteria. With an earlier start this year and some extra hands to help, the Rock Eagle staff hope to hit 2,000 lbs!
Just this week, Rock Eagle cleared a two acre plot to install a larger, modern garden to increase production for the cafeteria; and provide for a more extensive garden education program.
FoodCorps service members Sumer and Ian are assisting with garden maintenance and harvest, helping teach the summer camp garden classes, and creating cafeteria promotions to make sure campers and staff know that they are eating the most local produce possible.