The Winterim course “Where Is Your Next Meal Coming From” will explore where meals “come from” both literally and philosophically.
Day 1: We spent the day talking about our food experiences and examining ways that food “shapes us into who we are.” Kenny York, founder of Manna Cafe, and Hope Boyd, volunteer coordinator at Manna Cafe, visited our class and spoke about the work their organization does to nourish the body and soul of people who don’t know “where their next meal is coming from.”
Day 2: Building on the theme of “where is your next meal coming from,” we explored food etiquette. Certified etiquette consultant Pat Woods visited and spoke about the evolution of food etiquette and the importance of knowing food etiquette and displaying proper manners at the table. We then prepared no-bake desserts and our table. Ladies seated, napkins in lap, proper utensils in hand, we sat down for a mannerly meal together.
Day 3: On this beautiful January day, we traveled to Manna Cafe’s new building to help with food box distribution day, which occurs from 9:30-4:00 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The day was bright and sunny, but the warehouse was cold! We worked throughout the day either sorting donations or helping distribute a week’s worth of groceries to clients. By the end of the day, more than 250 food boxes had been distributed to people in need.
Day 4: Shanna Lively of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture visited our class today to discuss food safety. She explained how state and federal laws and regulations safeguard “where our meals come from.” For lunch, we walked to Johnny’s Big Burger to experience a local favorite since the 1960s. After eating the “best hamburgers in town,” we went to the Smith-Trahern mansion for another food safety lesson — which led to an impromptu tour of the historic mansion.
Day 5: We spent the day with Joanne Askew, lower school science lab and STEM instructor, and Brandi Phillips’s 4th grade students. We learned about the importance of the farmer and about growing the food we need whether we live on a farm or in a city. Mrs. Askew shared her knowledge about farming and about creating a city garden in a downtown Clarksville neighborhood. She instructed the students on planting vegetable seeds. Upper school students and the 4th graders planted seeds together, and the 4th graders will continue to watch them grow.
Day 6-7: Heavy rains over the weekend kept us from taking a field trip to Mrs. Askew’s family farm, but CA Alum (and Mrs. Askew’s son) Walt Askew brought the farm to us. He talked to us about his farm and business, Barker Beef, and enlightened us on how food, especially meat, gets from farm to table. Mrs. Askew donated and cooked her locally raised beef, which we made into a chili lunch. CA Director of Marketing and Development, Sally Allen, also visited today to provide her expertise on planning and throwing a tailgating event.
Day 7 : Tasked with throwing an epic tailgating experience to celebrate CA and to support the basketball teams’ games against Friendship Christian, we became full-fledged event planners. We divided into teams and learned first-hand the intricacies of orchestrating a successful tailgating event. The logistics team gathered the supplies and planned our overall vision; the decorating team planned the overall look of the event to highlight CA; the caterers coordinated the food and even made festive snacks; the entertainment team planned and set up games and music. Mr. Christmas fired up his grill and grilled burgers and hot dogs as his Winterim group joined ours for food and fellowship.
Day 8: We volunteered at Manna Cafe again this week. Last week, Manna Cafe distributed 999 food boxes (274 of which we helped distribute last Wednesday). We not only distributed food boxes again this week but also built USDA food boxes to be distributed to families this Friday. Building the boxes required a great deal of organization, cooperation, and persistence, so we put our event planning skills to good use and built three pallets of boxes (that’s 108 of boxes of canned goods) in less than two hours.
Day 9: We walked Downtown today. Teams navigated around Public Square, Strawberry Alley, Franklin Street, and the Downtown Commons on a scavenger hunt to learn about the various places to grab a meal as well as historical points of interest. After completing their missions, students went to the Blackhorse, one of Downtown’s most popular restaurants, for lunch.
Day 10: We ended this Winterim exploring “where your next meal is coming from” on a college campus. Despite the freezing temperatures, we took a tour of APSU’s campus and their dining hall. Corey Choate, Director of Dining at APSU, greeted us, talked to us meal plans for students living on campus, and invited us to eat lunch — all you can eat lunch. Lunch at “The Caf” was outstanding.