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THE TURNIP TRUCK PARTNERS WITH GLENCLIFF HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMY

Glencliff High School Glencliff High School is one of the most diverse schools in the state of Tennessee. Their student population is made up of over 42 different nationalities and 26 languages. This diversity makes Glencliff a very unique and exciting community to teach and learn. The administration and staff at Glencliff embrace the changing demographics of the community and set high expectations for student performance and behavior. The Turnip Truck was privileged to experience this first hand in March when a group of students from Glencliff’s Culinary Arts Academy Program came to visit.

In the fall of 2008, Glencliff High School implemented career academies as a part of their high school program. They have three career academies including The Academy of Medical Science Research which includes the Culinary Arts program. The Culinary Arts program teaches students about the importance of nutrition, teaches them how to cook, serve, and run a restaurant in the high school under the direction of Chef Alyce Scrivner. Business and community involvement is critical to the success of the Academies of Nashville. Connections formed are beneficial to both the students and the community.

Glencliff

In January, after an overview meeting with Chaney Mosley, Director of Academies of Nashville, and Jill Peeples, an Academy Coach at Glencliff, The Turnip Truck was invited to come out to Glencliff High School for lunch at the Southern Tea Room, their student-run restaurant. Turnip Truckers Chris Felder and Kathryn Johnson went and met with the students and Chef Alyce Scrivner, and were totally inspired by this wonderful group of young chefs. A dialogue started and a partnership began.

Glencliff

The Turnip Truck was thrilled to have a few of the students come for a tour and lunch at our Gulch location on March 19th. Some of them had never been in a natural foods market before and they had a world of new food options open up to them with fresh juices, alternative grains, bulk bins, and organic produce. We were excited to hear about the work they had recently done creating menus for patients on dialysis, food competitions they have won, their own personal relationships with food, and their career plans upon graduation.

We look forward to working with them again and are so excited to get to see first hand, the positive impact food has on these high school students and how they share their knowledge with others.

THE PRICE OF ORGANIC PRODUCE

Perhaps the question that we all hear most often in the Natural Food Industry is, "why do organic foods typically cost more than their conventional counterparts?" This is a very legitimate question, especially in today’s economic environment. One of our organic suppliers, Albert’s Organics breaks it down in an easy to understand way. We thought we’d share it with you.

Produce
Organic Greens from Eaton Creek Organics. Photo by D.A. D’Elia.
  • Cost factors such as growing, harvesting, storage and transportation are generally higher for organically produced foods, as farmers must meet stricter regulations governing all of the mandatory steps. As a result, the process of organic farming is more labor and management- intensive, which results in higher costs.
  • Because organic growers do not use toxic chemicals, more labor (and thus a higher cost) is required to deal with weeds and pests in their fields. Organic agriculture tends to be on a smaller scale than conventional farming and thus organic farmers tend to pay more per acre to produce their crops - this according to Dave Decou of Organically Grown Company.
  • Because of their size, organic farmers can often face added distribution costs. There are typically many more stops and deliveries in the distribution of organic food than with conventional.
  • Historically, organic farmers have not received federal subsidies or price supports for their crops.
  • If organic farmers dropped their prices across the board to match conventional products, we would run the risk that some of the steps taken to nurture the soil may be side-stepped. If this happens, their farms will not remain sustainable in the long run.
Produce
Organic Kolrabi and Turnips from Delvin Farms. Photo by D.A. D’Elia.

It is very important to think of the long-term impacts of choosing organics. There is mounting evidence that if all of the indirect costs of conventional agricultural production over time, including clean up costs due to pesticides in our water and soil, loss of soil and medical costs due to illness from pesticides were factored in, that organic foods would actually cost less.