Valley school children of all ages will be participating the the Eat Local Challenge next week. Preschoolers at Spring Hill are participating in their second Localvore Challenge; they participated in the challenge last September also. The teachers at the school have planned activities throughout the challenge week that focus on local food. 

The children will be cooking snacks made with local foods each day and will be collecting the recipes they make for a local food cookbook that the school may publish at some point in the future. Stories about eating and growing local food from the children's families will be shared as well.
At the Warren School kids will be treated to a local lunch option throughout the week. Prior to the challenge, Megan Moffroid will be talking to the classes about the challenge and giving the children the opportunity to take the Eat Local Challenge pledge at school. Some parents of Warren School children reported last year that they ended up doing the challenge at home because their children were so excited about what they learned about the challenge at school.  

Kristen Getler, who is running a six-week after-school program at the school called the Sowers and Growers Garden Club, will be offering special activities focused on local foods during the challenge week. On Tuesday, she will be teaching the kids about the importance of seed saving and how to do it and on the Thursday of the challenge week the kids will go to Dave Hartshorn's farm to learn how to glean.  

Gleaning is an activity where people (in this case the kids) go into produce fields after they have been commercially picked and pick remaining vegetables and fruit that typically cost the grower more to harvest than the food is worth. In Vermont there are several organizations that glean produce and donate it to food shelves. In this case, the food that is gleaned will be used at the school.
Green Mountain Valley School is also getting involved with the challenge. Rory Stamp, a student at Green Mountain Valley School, is a big supporter of local foods and this year decided to participate in the Eat Local Challenge. While Rory is concerned that as a boarding student and a vegetarian it may be difficult to be successful with the challenge, he says he is 100 percent committed to eating local for the entirety of the week. He is excited that the cooks at GMVS have committed to doing a day of local meals and is trying to encourage other students and staff to eat locally for the challenge as well.  
Paul Morris, the new chef at Harwood Union High School, is excited about the upcoming challenge.  In the first few weeks of school, students have been treated to many local foods including a salad bar that Morris and his staff plan to operate regularly throughout the school year. For the Eat Local Challenge Harwood will be offering students a local lunch on Thursday, September 20.  During that lunch, Localvores will be on hand to answer questions that the students have about eating local food. Harwood also supplies food to Moretown Elementary so the kids at that school will also have the chance to participate in the Eat Local Challenge.
To help with procuring local foods, the Mad River Valley Localvore project is donating local rolled oats to each of the participating schools.  "It is exciting and heart warming to see the enthusiasm the schools have about the challenge," said Localvore co-founder Robin McDermott.  "The oats are not an easy ingredient to get locally, but we have some that we want to share with these young folks who are showing that they care where their food comes from."
The Mad River Valley Eat Local Challenge is September 17 to 23.  People participate in the challenge by pledging to eat only locally produced and grown food for a meal, a day, or the full week. Sign up for the challenge online at www.VermontLocalvore.org or call Robin McDermott at 496-3567 to have a challenge for mailed to you.

Eat Local Challenge week events
* Saturday, September 15, farmers' market. Distribution of Localvore Starter Kits, information on the Eat Local Challenge and cooking demonstrations. Some starter kits are still available.
* Tuesday, September 18, 6 p.m. Seed Saving Workshop and Potluck with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds. This event is co-sponsored with Rootswork. Learn about techniques to save seeds and share a Localvore meal with friends. Free and all are invited. On the second floor of the East Warren Schoolhouse.
* Wednesday, September 19, 1 to 3 p.m. Sauerkraut and Kimchi Social: Learn how to preserve and enhance the goodness of seasonal vegetables through lacto-fermentation. Call Robin McDermott for information, directions and to register.  
* Thursday, September 20, 7 p.m. Free Trade vs. Fair Trade: What is the Difference and Why We Should Care? Presented by the Green Mountain Global Forum at the 1824 House on Route 100 in Waitsfield. Free and all are invited. The Localvore Project will be offering all local snacks at the event. For more information please check out www.gmgf.org or call 496-2490.
* Sunday, September 23, 2 to 4 p.m. Applesauce and Pickles workshop with Callie McAllister at the Warren Town Hall Kitchen. Call Robin McDermott for information, directions and to register.   
* Sunday, September 23, at 5 p.m. Eat Local Celebration Potluck: Celebrate a successful Eat Local Challenge with fellow Localvores at the Warren Town Hall. Talk about the successes, frustrations and the challenge of being a Localvore.
For more information on the challenge or any of the activities, contact Robin McDermott at 496-3567 or go to www.VermontLocalvore.org.