McCall Kitchen Brings Place-Based Values to Meals
Chefs Support Locally Sourced, Sustainable Food
The McCall Field Campus is the home of McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), a national leader in science education, which engages students by directly connecting them with the place they are studying. Now, the campus is also becoming a player in another place-based concept: the local food movement in Valley County.
“I love that the McCall Field Campus is becoming a place where local food is served”Karla Eitel, associate professor, MOSS director of education
“I love that the McCall Field Campus is becoming a place where local food is served—where we support local growers through providing outlets for their food, and where we all can talk about why this matters for the social and ecological systems that we’re part of,” said Karla Eitel, associate professor and MOSS director of education.
Food Systems and Sustainability team members Megan Faulkner and Betsy Delph have spearheaded the effort over the past two years, utilizing backgrounds in formal culinary education, natural resources, and farm-to-table markets and restaurants to create a food culture at the field campus centered around nutritious, made-from-scratch meals. The two have co-created meal plans to fit a variety of dietary needs and preferences, prioritizing high quality, minimally processed ingredients from as many local and regional producers as possible.
“Thank you for the wonderful food. It’s really good and makes me feel good about myself”MOSS sixth grader
The reactions so far have been positive. One MOSS sixth grade student wrote a note to the kitchen staff: “Thank you for the wonderful food. It’s really good and makes me feel good about myself. Thank you SO MUCH.”
In September 2018, the McCall Field Campus partnered with the Valley County Extension office, the West Central Mountains Food Coalition, and Brundage Mountain Resort to sponsor a community wide farm-to-table dinner. Faulkner and Delph worked with local growers to develop a four-course menu highlighting products produced in and around the West Central Mountains region, including grass-fed yak, organic root vegetables, melons, apples, goat cheese, herbs and more. Besides contributing the talents of its chefs, the campus also donated compostable dishes and cutlery to ensure the dinner was a zero-waste event.
Bolstered by the outpouring of community support, the kitchen crew is continuing to expand their partnerships with small farmers and growers. This October, the McCall Field Campus kitchen was stocked with organic potatoes grown by MOSS alumna Bre Anderson, MNR ’18, whose existing passion for food sustainability found a welcome home during her time as a MOSS graduate student.
“From my first few weeks, I was encouraged and relieved to discover how important sustainability was to the campus kitchen,” she said. “Megan and Betsy have made the McCall Field Campus a huge player in the local food movement, and as a new grower in Valley County, I am so thankful that they are determined to make local food a part of the MOSS experience.”
Megan Faulkner, McCall Field Campus
Published in Winter 2018-19 issue of Celebrating Natural Resources