Editorial, Aug. 3, 2017

Aug 03, 2017

Role model

Recently, Unity College placed first in the nation for its food services sustainability achievements. The college now grows much of the produce served in the cafeteria and has also won awards for reduced waste.

The trend in recent years has moved toward buying local and decreasing carbon footprints, and, as an environmentally focused institution, Unity College has long been at the forefront of the sustainability movement. This tiny college in Waldo County is providing a good sustainability example, not only for our local elementary and high schools, but also for schools of all sizes across the country.

Not all institutions can follow the example of Unity College, though. Up against finalists Duke University and University of Texas at Austin for the top prize, Unity College won for its structural combination of dining and sustainability teams that designated the school as a trailblazer in sustainable dining, according to a press release from the college.

Departments were joined to form a farm-to-cafeteria team under the direction of Unity’s chief sustainability officer. In winter 2015, dining services and McKay Farm and Research Center worked to create a seed list for the farm to grow produce specifically requested by college chefs. This past school year, dining services used more than 3,600 pounds of produce from McKay — not counting all the unsalable produce dining services has converted into products such as “McKay-chup,” hot sauce, herbed salt and herbed butter.

The college also contracted with its largest food service distributor to require its assistance in tracking the local, humane, ecological and ethical food items the college purchases and uses. And then Unity turned its dining sustainability efforts into a living-learning laboratory for its students and their class projects.

We are glad to see our smaller Waldo County schools continue the sustainability trend, as well, with local farms and the schools themselves providing larger contributions to meals served at all levels. Even summer meal programs in some towns continue to offer produce grown onsite and from local farms. During the school year, younger students in Waldo County are offered the chance to grow produce in school greenhouses, as well as outside, that is later served in the cafeteria.

While this rural county is dotted with farms, children aren't exposed to sources of food as much as in the past. All of these steps by local schools help connect students to where food comes from, and teach them to grow and care for food, themselves and the planet.

This week in history

On Aug. 6, 1996, “A Game of Thrones,” a fantasy novel by George R. R. Martin was released. The book was the first in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series about feuding medieval noble families on an imaginary continent called Westeros. Although not initially a best-seller, “A Game of Thrones” gained a loyal following.

Martin was born in 1948 and grew up in Bayonne, N.J. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1970 and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the school the following year. He went on to teach journalism, direct chess tournaments and publish fantasy and science-fiction short stories and novels, although none achieved the success of his “Song of Ice and Fire” series. From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, Martin worked as a writer-producer in Hollywood, contributing to such TV series as “The Twilight Zone” and “Beauty and the Beast.” He penned scripts that were often deemed too complicated and expensive to produce, an experience that influenced how he developed the “Song of Ice and Fire” saga.

Martin originally intended “A Game of Thrones” as the first title in a trilogy; however, his plan expanded into a seven-volume series that so far also includes “A Clash of Kings” (1999, in the U.S.),“A Storm of Swords” (2000), “A Feast for Crows” (2005) and “A Dance with Dragons” (2011). The novels are known for their elaborate plots and large casts of morally complex characters.

In 2005, Time magazine dubbed him “the American Tolkien,” a reference to Britain’s J. R. R. Tolkien, author of “The Hobbit” and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2011, a TV adaptation of “Game of Thrones” premiered on HBO.

Information from history.com.

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