The Food Revolution Ignites at Edmonds Community College

The Food Revolution Ignites At Edmonds Community College

Thu 25 Aug 2011

Story by Chris Hudyma

It all started with a wellness program, a cookbook and guacamole….

I’m the Director of the Organizational Development & Employee Training Department at Edmonds Community College (EdCC) in Washington State. As part of our services, my team runs the college’s wellness program, LiveWell, which consists of short presentations on a variety of health and wellness topics as well as an annual wellness fair for the college’s 1,000 employees and 20,000 students.

In December of 2010, my husband gifted me with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook. I had seen Jamie’s TED Talk and was completely inspired by his wish, “to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again, and empower everyone to fight obesity.” As I read Jamie’s Food Revolution, I began to ponder how I could make a difference by sharing some of my recipes with friends.

After I shared the cookbook with the college’s LiveWell Coordinator, Barbara Pardo, she said, “Let’s do food demos here at the college!” Fortunately, our boss, Mark Cassidy, the Vice President of Human Resources, is a foodie with a passion for cooking. Of his numerous specialties, many of us in HR love his fruit-infused guacamole. Barbara invited Mark to teach the college how to make this lovely green goodness- and guacamole became the spark that ignited the Food Revolution at EdCC.

The demonstration was a hit! Twenty-two people attended to learn how to make authentic Mexican guacamole using a jolcajete and tejolote (mortar and pestle)- a 3,500- year-old tradition (recipe provided below). As a bonus, participants also learned how to make three amazing fresh salsas: Salsa Mexicanan Chymayo, Chimayo Red Chili Salsa, and Chili Tamulado Salsa.

Since then, we have organized several more cooking demonstrations and plan to continue in the next academic year. The demos consistently attract people who want to try interesting food and learn new recipes. They also build community as the presenter and audience discuss food, preparation, and personal experiences. It is inspiring to see people sharing their families’ food culture.

In terms of our community revolution, I see myself as a ‘connector’. I am making the connections and building relationships with people both within the college and community in relation to the Food Revolution, hoping that by making people aware that the Food Revolution is local, and by connecting them to each other, they can find what works for them as they become involved in making healthy food choices, helping families cook from scratch with wholesome food and helping the school district improve their food. There are many people already playing a role in food within our community and by connecting them all together we can create a revolution everyone can get involved in.

Recently, we decided to bring our college-wide Food Revolution to a larger audience. Planning is in full swing for a community food festival to be held in Spring 2012. With support from the Food Revolution Team, we have created our own Food Revolution Snohomish County chapter. Our mission is to connect individuals, groups and businesses that are doing wonderful work within our county to grow, distribute, prepare, cook, and sell local wholesome food.

Networking and community building abounds right now. College colleagues in our culinary, horticulture, anthropology, service learning, sustainability/diversity and Head Start Departments are excited to participate in the Food Revolution and the food festival. We are in the process of gaining community partners for the festival and are finding allies within the local school district, city and county government, YWCA, extension office, and local business community. We have more work to do, but the concept of creating a festival focused on celebrating sustainable, local, wholesome food to our community intrigues people.

Our festival may spark the Food Revolution in Snohomish County.

About the author: Chris Hudyma started the Food Revolution at Edmonds Community College where she has worked for 12 years and is the founder of the Food Revolution Snohomish Co group. A Snohomish County resident, Chris enjoys cooking for her husband and 5-year old daughter. Her favorite family recipe, which she shared in a Food Revolution Demo, is Yaya’s Greek Lemon Chicken. Her favorite recipe in Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook is Easy Homemade Curry Pastes.

Guacamole en Molcajete
Recipe from Diana Kennedy The Art of Mexican Cooking

Note: Ms. Kennedy notes that proper guacamole should be made in a molcajete and the mixture should remain "lumpy" not smooth. She also discourages the use of lime juice (to keep the avocado from browning) because she feels it spoils the balance of flavors. I like it because if I make if for myself, it will last longer. But for a group... browning is not a issue... its gone....

1/3 cup white onions, finely chopped
3 to 4 serrano chiles, finely chopped, with seeds
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 pounds ripe California avocadoes (about 4 large)
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup pear, peeled and finely diced (your can also use peaches, papaya, or mangoes)
3/4 cup seedless grapes, halved
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Special equipment: molcajete y tojolote (Mexican mortar and pestle) or food processor

In a molcajete or food processor, grind onion, chiles, and salt into a rough paste. Gradually add the avocado, coarsely mashing it (you'll want it to be chunky). Stir in the lime juice. Fold in the pear, grapes, and 1/2 cup of the pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds over the guacamole and serve.


More News