“We really appreciate you bringing the food truck here for us to cook on Miss Jordyn.”
There are times in my service when I have to ground myself, take a few deep breaths. And just feel, admire, appreciate all of the support and love I am so fortunate to have in my service community. The people here in Wilmington, NC are some of the most inspirational, motivational, encouraging folks I have ever had the fortune of working with, let alone even knowing. Ideas are not just dreams here; they become integrated into real life.
That’s what happened with the food truck. Matt Rogers, of University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) Campus Dining, is not only a chef and Aramark regional manager; he is a sustainable living guru and integrates these ideals into the community. This past October, one of Matt’s projects, the UNCW food wagon, was complete and on the road hitting campus and community events. This is not your average food truck though. It runs, both in the kitchen and on the road, completely on propane gas. Meaning not only does it not pollute the air, but it also HELPS to clean the air!
A few months back, Matt approached me about bringing the food wagon to my three schools. I think we all know what my answer was… YES! Cooking with my second and third graders in a real kitchen versus what I pull out of my Rubbermaid bin was exactly the type of experience I was trying to give them. It would give them the confidence to use their cooking skills in a real life situation that they could feel self-assured in bringing back home.The week of March 7th, the UNCW food wagon hit the road for Forest Hills Elementary on March 8th, Winter Park Elementary on March 10th, and Wrightsboro Elementary on the 11th. All 12 of my third and second grade classes were able to reflect on previous lessons we had touched on throughout our year together; plant parts, the benefits of eating a rainbow of fruits & veggies while observing changes between states of matter, using fractions, and systems of measurements; all while prepping batter for sweet potato pancakes that were topped with their choosing of beet whipped cream, honey, strawberries, blueberries, and edible flowers. All of the students were able to come on to the truck for a tour and an opportunity to flip their own pancake!
Let me tell you real quick, how fun this was. We laughed, we learned, we took selfies, we wore chef aprons, we prepped, we whisked, we flipped, we ate, we voted, we drew our vegetable alter egos, we reflected… I am forever grateful for these memories. This would not have even been possible nor nearly as successful if it had not been for Matt, the eagerness of the teachers, social workers, and principals as well as some AMAZING community volunteers who took time out of their own days to come lend a hand. We had folks both from Feast Down East as well as owners and environment educators of Centripetal Farms, Marie Davis and Matt Collogan. When I am old and eating lots of blue and purple veggies to recall these memories, I will find myself reflecting on my life and service. I’m not going to remember the hard days, those times where I felt discouraged by seeds never making it to sprout or felt obliterated by administrative duties. But I will remember the days like these. When my heart was bursting with joy and the sight of smiles, laughter, confidence, and love that was felt among students, teachers, and partners as we worked alongside one another.
We even got some shout-out’s from the press!