Idaho's Year of Food

One of the things that I like about our school is its efforts to foster some elements of sustainability with its daily consumption, whether it be through energy conservation or though its work with Bon Appetit to provide local food options. Since I was in high school, my mom has been a prodidgious locavore, shopping for organic and local foods whenever she can. She turned her entire back yard into a garden and raises chickens for their eggs which she eats and sells. Naturally some of her attitudes towards the benefits of fresh and healthy food have rubbed off, and back when I was a prospective student, Bon Appetit's objective to serve the students, staff and faculty with environmentally conscious food was pretty attractive. 

I talk about this because over Winter break last week, I encountered a College of Idaho alumna. Her name was Janie Burns, a '77 English Literature graduate from Caldwell. I live in Boise in between terms, and when I was visiting Boise I attended a monthly meeting called the Fettuccini Forum. It's a public meeting where Boiseans can meet and discuss local issues. This month was the discussion of 2011 as the Year of Idaho Food. Ms. Burns was a speaker during this conference.

The conference was fairly amusing. Another one of the speakers happened to be my former English teacher from junior high. 

They went over the traditions of Idaho food, which for those of you not native to Idaho were claimed by Amy (my teacher) to be Huckleberries, lamb, the mighty potato, and fry sauce (seriously, it's kind of an Idaho thing).

Jamie's segment discussed some of the policy issues that are being faced by the local food movement and how initiatives are being put in place to help Idaho crops reach Idaho consumers, such as elementary schools. It was interesting to hear her speak as a current C of I student. Things must have been much different when she was attending, but fun to know that we come from the same stock. It's always fun to meet fellow Yotes from any class. There's always a special spark that lights up in their eyes when they hear that you're a fellow student. Sometimes it feels like we're a rare animal living amongst a much more dispersed population of other species, and once we learn of each other there's almost a feeling of finding a lost cousin.

I'm reminded of this lineage each time I meet one of these wayward Yotes.

PHOTO: Janie Burns was raised in Ontario, OR. She owns and runs Meadowlark Farm in Idaho and co-owns Homegrown Poultry LLC, New Plymouth, Idaho's first state-licensed poultry processing facility. She also serves on the advisory committee for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Idaho.

-Andrew Moore