Blue Sky Café- An Agrarian Kitchen
We are establishing a new program at Sky Islands this year— Blue Sky Café — an agrarian kitchen
It is an urban farm-to-kitchen program to provide students with experience in both growing and preparing food, and expect them to create healthy lunches for themselves and everyone in the school community. Students enrolled in this program will attend a block schedule that includes two back-to-back classes.
Perhaps surprisingly, many of our students do not pack a lunch, or they graze at Circle K for bags of chips. As part of this program, their day will begin in the Urban Horticulture class with Michael Bagesse. There students will select seasonal vegetables to grow in their schoolyard gardens, and learn to take care of composting. Then those students will take what they’ve grown—or we’ve purchased at local farmers’ markets and the Community Food Bank— and prepare healthy, nutrition-rich lunches in the newly-restored school kitchen. The kitchen classes will be taught by our teachers Lukas Bogard and Zak Cushing, and supervised by a new kitchen manager, Christine Merrill.
Designed to provide students with an authentic kitchen and dining experience, as well as paying attention to minimal waste, the Blue Sky Café will feature real glass, flatware and tableware (not paper or plastic), provisions for vegan dishes, and opportunities for select menu choices. Menu planning based on seasonal ingredients will allow us to do this at a very low cost to students—the goal is that every student, regardless of income, can afford a Blue Sky Café lunch.
Monthly subscription prices are $30 per student, or $20 for students enrolled in the Culinary Arts/ Urban Horticulture classes.
Thank you for your support of our local food system and economy, sustainable organic agriculture, and the health of our students!
This course will include seed-saving and propagation, learning to graft and compost, irrigation and water management, pest and weed control, greenhouse operation, attending to growing seasons, and harvesting produce for the school kitchen.
Students in this course will learn skills and habits that include shopping and menu planning, culinary techniques, how to use seasonings and ingredients, nutritional values, food storage, as well as teamwork, responsibility, and principles of healthy eating.
These courses are designed to be taken together and are not offered independently. Ideally, every student who attends Sky Islands will be enrolled in this program during high school. Students will learn healthy life skills and habits, transition directly to programs at JTED or PCC if they so choose, as well as have fun!
However, this takes intentional work—and funding. Here is where you come in. To fully transform this vision into reality, we need to retro-fit the kitchen to bring it up to code—from cobwebs to health code. This requires a mechanical engineer, fees and permits, fire suppression upgrades, new plumbing and sinks, a stove, as well as kitchen staples, racks, and utensils. We have the staff in place—are you there too?
Help spread the word and support this program at the Blue Sky Café gofundme site: