By: Helena Stallings, Culinary Arts Student
In the farm to table experience portion of the culinary arts curriculum, every week is spent at a different farm or a few farms and warehouses. To be shown the range of high producing corporate warehouses, such as Shamrock Foods, down to the small acreage chicken farm, Carrie’s Clucks, really puts the food industry into perspective. Shamrock Foods is shipping food across several states and is importing food from all around. They provide a valuable service to the culinary industry, however the large scale food service model isn’t sustainable at the rate we are going now. Locally sourcing our food is as important as ever and Oxford Gardens in North Boulder is providing the same service on a much smaller scale. After my culinary class left Oxford Gardens, I knew that the changes that need to be made in the culinary world are not out of our reach.
Oxford Gardens is comprised of 4 1/2 acres of vegetable beds and a green house. This small acreage farm provides produce to not only restaurants, but farmer’s markets, a CSA and anyone participating in their ‘Food for Work’ program, which is working a day on the farm in exchange for a basket of vegetables. They are going above and beyond to produce healthy, local food for their community and they are only working with a handful of acres. Not to mention they lost a small part of their property during the Boulder floods. Many people believe that big agriculture is going to save our world hunger problem, but it is in the hands of the small acreage farmer to restore our health and our earth. The kindness of the staff at Oxford Gardens paired with the tranquility of being surrounded by fruiting plants was a very peaceful and eye opening experience. During the summer months they hold various events at the farm such as yoga and farm dinners, and I would recommend to anyone to go out and spend a day on the farm, it’s good for the soul.