Posted on Thursday November 28, 2013
You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but did you know that this coming Tuesday, December 3 is the 2nd annual Giving Tuesday? A new twist on the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday encourages gift givers to donate to their favorite charity, in honor of friends or loved ones, or just for the sake of spreading holiday cheer to those in need. You can find more information about Giving Tuesday here:
Of course, we hope you’ll add Wayfinder Schools to your list of holiday gift donations this year. With just the click of a mouse, you can help ensure Maine teens are able to graduate from high school and realize their hopes and dreams for the future.
Thank you for all you do & Happy Holidays from all of us at Wayfinder Schools!
Posted on Thursday November 28, 2013
A Wayfinder Schools Tradition…
We do Thanksgiving a bit differently at Wayfinder Schools, and it all started back in ’09 with our first ever Global Thanksgiving celebration in Camden. The brainchild of Lead Teacher & Curriculum Coordinator Carrie Braman, Global Thanksgiving got its start with this book, Hungry Planet.
Every year, students are asked to select a country featured in Hungry Planet, and to research the typical food budget for an average family in that country. They also research other statistics from that country, including literacy rates, life expectancy and more.
After writing a research paper about their selected country, and graphing their statistics in comparison to the countries selected by their classmates, each student prepares a meal typical of their country, based on an average family’s food budget.
They work with our culinary instructors to find the needed ingredients, and to prepare their meals. Each year, the students prepare incredible soups, casseroles, meat and vegetarian dishes, appetizers, and desserts. They also design a small display to accompany their meal.
But here’s the best part. When it’s time to eat, our entire school community gathers together-students, teachers, administrators, friends and family-to share in the feast prepared by the students.
During the meal, each student presents their research to the assembled crowd-this year, close to 100 people! But before closing their presentations, each student shares something for which they feel Thanksgiving gratitude-friends, family, school, access to safe housing, clean water, healthy food…
Global Thanksgiving simply combines the best of everything Wayfinder Schools is all about: in this one project, students are practicing reading, writing, math, research skills, art, public speaking, budgeting, culinary arts, history, geography, social studies, social justice and diversity and the importance of community.
And as a bonus this year, we also got to celebrate the birthday of Kalar, one of our amazing Opportunity Farm students!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Posted on Wednesday November 27, 2013
Food Costs/Benefits Analysis
By Katelyn Kribel, Camden Residential Class of 2014
To buy food locally, or not to buy food locally? That is the question.
Just kidding. But in all seriousness, this is a good question that is worth taking a moment to stop and think about. What are the consequences of purchasing food locally? What are the costs and benefits? How does it effect you, and the social and physical environment around you? It’s time to evaluate.
Firstly, I’ll start off by listing some of the costs of buying local food. One of the bigger costs is – quite literally – the cost. Local tomatoes can be very expensive compared to the mass produced tomatoes imported from Spain. To some people, this is only a very small inconvenience, but to others, it can be a cost that is too big for them to have the luxury to consider. This is one reason as to why the option to purchase imported foods is positive.
Another downfall to buying from your local farmers is that food cannot be grown year-around by a Maine farmer. At least, not without the use of massive amounts of energy. And really, using that much energy just to buy some parsley from your neighbor in the middle of the winter is not totally worth it. However, with imported foods, you can easily have products available to you all year. Oh, it’s winter and your local farmers can’t grow that parsley you really need? Good thing it’s perfect parsley-growing weather in Australia. You can just drive your privileged bum over to the nearest Hannaford, and you are good to go.
Now, the benefits of buying local foods. A major benefit is (for the most part) the positive impact that the local foods have on the environment. When you have things imported to you from thousands of miles away, the transportation of those items costs a lot of energy – henceforth, destroying the environment. However, when you buy some potatoes from right down the road, you’re no longer contributing to the demands for the imported potatoes, and are saving some energy by not having them delivered.
Another benefit is that buying food locally keeps money within the community. Our money doesn’t go out to some country that nobody’s ever heard of, but instead, it’s going to our farmers. Then in turn, their money may go to a local book store, and it creates this nice little circulation of local money. How pleasant is that? A community rich in both money and loyalty. It doesn’t get much better than that.
And finally, the final listed benefit is the freshness of the food. After traveling from place, to place, to place, food can lose that initial freshness (and not to mention the chemicals and dirty circumstances those imported foods underwent.) With local food, though, it’s usually picked straight off the tree or out of the ground, and sold to you. Also, local farmers are known for not using harmful chemicals on their food, which holds true 99% of the time. So this is a health benefit to be considered.
That’s pretty much all the facts that I have to discuss about the costs and benefits of local food. Overall, I personally believe that the benefits outweigh the costs, however, I known that not everybody is able to do that, and there also won’t be much local food grown here in the winter. Therefore, I think people should definitely buy locally when they can, but the option to buy imported foods should always remain open.
Cost and Benefits Of Buying Locally Grown Food
By Carlos Andrade, Camden Residential Class of 2014
Lately we have been discussing the importance of locally grown Vegetables and Fruits, the question that I have been asked to explore and discuss with my classmates is, what are the benefits and the costs of buying local food products? Local food is relatively safer for the most part, farmers don’t tend to use pesticides and growth steroids for the plants in their growing process. But that’s not the best part, locally grown food tastes so amazing and most of the time looks better and smells fresher. Something else that I found intriguing is that local food supports the local families, by cutting out the middle man the farmers are getting full retail price for their food. Which helps farm families and farmers stay on their land that way they can produce and grow more food to be sold. Something that I found online that really made sense to me was a study from a man named Vern Grubinger, a vegetable and berry specialist at the University of Vermont. He said “Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.” Which I think is such a big part and thing for a farmer and the consumer to gain a relationship when both people are excited willing and know what the community needs to become better and grow together. So when we think about our environment and everything, the cost to transport food from different places like states and what not, well doing that is a problem for our ecosystem and it has hurt ourozone layer, but I don’t want to turn this essay into a story about global warming, but the facts are when we are buying locally we are polluting our planet less and less, which saves money and saves gas. Keeping the money in the community is important, but not as much important as it is a great thing to do for everybody and the community, can you imagine if lets say Camden, Maine since we are living here, if everyone here and when I say everybody I mean the entire population of this little town bought all their veggies and fruits and even locally raised pigs from local farmers and local butchers. All the money would stay here for a very long time, we as a little town we are would be keeping the money here and supporting each other. Just a theory but can you imagine if every single person here was only buying locally grown/raised things? No more Hannaford or Shaw’s or any big stores where you could potentially buy fruit and veggies from other states and countries. We as a community would grow onto each other and well maybe an accomplishment we could achieve is making our city a local only town no out of state stores all farmers markets. So all this stuff that I just mentioned is how I feel and what I think about buying locally and I hope others see and read this and agree with my theory of making our community as local place only. These are the cost and benefits of buying locally, along with my own little insight.
What are the costs and benefits of buying food locally?
By Emily Bennett, Camden Residential Class of 2014
Buying food locally is just as beneficial as it is adverse, and vice versa. There are more drawbacks than conveniences, but one could argue that the conveniences- in their convenience- override the said drawbacks. Whether musing about it to one’s self or seeing the image right before one’s self, in, say, a Venn diagram, there’s still no real simplistic approach on whether the purchasing of food locally, rather than mass produced items, is necessarily more advantageous or disadvantageous. Some say the answer’s clear, and some say it’s murky: to assess which is arguably true, one must present an argument.
First and foremost, let’s review the benefits of buying food locally. Of course, it’s healthier: there are more nutrients, and it’s fresher due to lack of food miles (which also reduces carbon dioxide emissions). There are no antibiotics or hormones, and it is potentially safer- plus, you know where your food comes from. It keeps money local, in the community, and it also supports local farmers. Preserving the land establishes a land resolution, and there are many economic benefits for the community as well as initiating a community spirit, and local biodiversity.
Now that we’ve determined the good side of local purchase, it’s time to tackle the costs- literally and figuratively. It seems anything decent, whether an idea or something material, often comes with a price: local food is definitely more expensive. Surprisingly, it is also not necessarily more energy efficient (sometimes local food transportation is just as bad as farther food miles.) Due to fewer people, it is also more labor intensive. There are occasionally bugs, and packaging isn’t necessarily more appealing. Since we usually depend on outside sources to provide less accessible food, buying food locally would mean a limited supply of certain fruits, vegetables, or meats you’d normally see in Hannaford- even when not in season. It would be less consistent- imagine a full harvest suddenly discovered to be bad, and there would be no vegetables or fruits. It could potentially be less regulated around safety. The worst part, however, is back to the cost- this may result in inequality of healthy foods, a sort of dehumanization, rich versus poor.
So is buying food locally good? Bad? It’s arguable either way. To the rich tourist, it’s an obvious answer. To the local single mother, maybe it’s not so easy. Overall health is something we all want to achieve. Making healthy food less available to the not-so-well-off is something I find unbalanced and unreasonable.
Cost & Benefits Of Buying Local Food
By Cheyanne Penniman, Camden Residential Class of 2014
An individual will often think of heading to the grocery store before exploring their local food market for reasons of convenience, affordability, or just plain ignorance on where the food they’re buying is coming from. When someone purchases food from their local grocery store they do not think of all the pesticides and preservatives that are in their food, or the long distances it travels before it gets to us. You are also consuming animal hairs, feces and carcasses. Did you know that the FDA allows but sets restrictions on how much of these things we’re allowed to consume per meal? And I don’t believe that putting unknown products in people’s food can be justified without educating our population on what they’re consuming first. And most Americans aren’t aware of this.
There are many advantages to buying locally grown foods; some advantages of buying food locally is the obvious, the food is fresher and healthier for you, because they are pesticide and preservative free and you know that they really take time to grow and watch over their food. Nothing goes into the food that the consumer isn’t aware of, meaning no extra animal surprises. What you see is what you get. When you buy meat from your local food market rather than a grocery store you can be assured that the animals that you’re buying were slaughtered in a humane way. To elaborate, suppliers of grocery stores slaughter and raise 100’s, maybe thousands of animals used for meat a year. They have so much meat to process that the animals get a lot of neglect and mistreatment. Local food farms raise only what they can afford to raise, usually less than 100 of each animal. This gives them time to tend to each animal and treat them fairly to the time of birth and until death. When the animal is dead they’re cleansed thoroughly. Many local farms are family owned and their livelihood. When we buy local foods we are supporting our community and making wise decisions for our body.
There are some disadvantages with buying local foods, but in my opinion they do not even compare to the problems we’re faced with when we’re buying food from unknown suppliers from the grocery store. Often people go to the grocery store not because they don’t enjoy locally grown products, but because of convenience. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to go out of their way for fresher food, especially when they don’t see a problem with the food they’re already buying. If a family is one a tight budget it also may be difficult because local food is often more expensive. Farms around the area are also low in numbers and they are not always available due to the climate changes and their inability to grow certain foods at this time. Even if you were to buy only locally grown food you’d be missing out on a large selection of fruits and veggies that aren’t available in Maine.
Posted on Tuesday October 22, 2013
Please take a moment to thank the generous business sponsors who made our 2013 Farm to Sea Auction such a success!
Posted on Wednesday October 2, 2013
We all know the great and long history of the The Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden. In recent years, the school has grown to double the number of students it serves. Our administrators, teachers, students and generous donors are the very reason for its achievements.
Part of this success is also the merger of The Community Schools and Opportunity Farm. This expansion has created an incredible platform to continue to provide life-long learning and provide students with the skills and experiences necessary to connect with their families, practice personal responsibility, and contribute to their communities.
But we can’t stop here. In looking to the future, we hope to grow to serve even more areas of the state and beyond. And therein lies the challenge. Any organization that grows, is faced with change. While difficult at times, it is a necessary part of its success. As we look to the future, we know that adding another venue will certainly create additional name challenges. It is with this in mind that we look to rebrand the schools to position not only our existing properties, but future campuses as well for the inevitable growth we know will come.
In searching for the right name, it was important to look back in the schools’ history and scan forward to see what was consistent throughout the years. The one thing that rang true was the notion that each and every student had a goal in mind. And while faced with adversity and hardships to overcome, they never lost sight of that goal and destination. It was this insight that lead to our new identity.
• Setting up a course strategy, which includes a reference course for reaching the vicinity of one’s destination
• Trying to hold this course while keeping track of one’s position in relationship to it during the voyage.
• Finding land after reaching the vicinity of one’s destination.
This form of navigation is a perfect metaphor for how each of the students can find their own way forward. It is a timeless, powerful, inspiring name that encompasses everything the school represents now and will become in the future.
Posted on Wednesday October 2, 2013
The Farm to Sea Auction on Thursday, October 3 will include dinner, live music and fabulous live & silent auctions. Join us from 6-9:30 at The Frontier Cafe in Brunswick!
Check out a full description of our 10 live auction items here! Click on the link below:
Posted on Monday September 23, 2013
Washington County Passages student Kaniah and her young daughter making Kool Aid PlayDoh together – for part of Kaniah’s Early Childhood Development credit. Grape and Fruit Punch. Hours of fun & it smells yummy, but remember not to eat it!
Posted on Wednesday September 18, 2013
Top 10 Reasons to attend The Farm to Sea Auction on October 3
#10. Great food, great company & the live Bluegrass tunes of The Potato Pickers!
#9. Door prizes!
#8. The chance to bid on 200 gallons of heating oil, a Bayside Bowl Party for 40 or a fire pit party on Chebeague Island
#7. The opportunity to write a travel piece for Maine Magazine
#6. The chance to bid on get-a-ways to Islesboro, Sugarloaf or Sebago Lake
#5. A week on Nantucket!
#4. New York Giants tickets. And Red Sox tix, too!
#3. A week in Burgundy!
#2. An African Safari!
And the # 1 Reason to attend The Farm to Sea Auction….
To support the 70 Maine teens attending Wayfinder Schools this year!
Hope to see you there! Thursday, October 3rd from 6-9:30pm at The Frontier Café in Brunswick. For more information, call 926-4532 or visit our homepage link.
Posted on Monday June 17, 2013
Click the link below for the 2013 Graduation Edition of our Residential Moon!
Posted on Thursday June 13, 2013
Our largest graduating class yet…
This year we are thrilled to be graduating 28 Maine students who once thought they might never complete high school. 13 of those students are teen parents in enrolled in our Passages Program. They will graduate this Saturday, June 15 at 2:00pm, in Camden. Read their stories here: