The end of the project is in sight! I’m back in Portland, Oregon, but I’ve found so much going on right here at home that Portland will definitely be part of the film as well. One of the most amazing projects here in Portland is Terra Nova Community Farm, which is also a high school in the Beaverton School District. The school’s founder, Paul Hudak, has won numerous awards, and rightly so: he’s a tireless and inspiring leader.
Terra Nova is one of the only student-run CSAs in the country. Paul told me that the key to the project’s success has been including the student farmers in every decision, from day one when they opened up the first seed catalogs together, to major decisions on the direction the farm has taken over the years. From talking to several long-term students, I can see that he’s succeeded in creating a sense of ownership. Students have helped build greenhouses and an earthen pizza oven, among other projects, and they are all very dedicated to the farm.
Michael Morton, for example, graduated from Terra Nova over a year ago but he still makes it back regularly to help out. He has a unique perspective on food and health because he’s now working as a paramedic-in-training with a local firehouse, so he sees the connection between the types of food that people are eating and their overall health when he goes on calls to patients’ homes and sees the empty fast food wrappers lying nearby, while the patients are being treated for heart disease or diabetes.
In addition to the CSA, Terra Nova provides large quantities of produce to other schools in the district. The week that I was there, they harvested over 10,000 cherry tomatoes, so the volume is getting impressive. They recently expanded to a second location and have been getting interest from other school districts in Oregon and across the country. Terra Nova is one of many projects that are part of a growing movement to improve and localize school nutrition, from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution to Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard to Michelle Obama’s White House garden to Paul Hudak’s student-run Community Farm right here in Portland!
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